Romania to sell 15-percent stake in Transgaz

Romania will sell a 15-percent stake in the natural gas distributor Transgaz in a move aimed at raising up to $115 million (90 million euros), the Bucharest stock exchange said on Wednesday.

The sale is one of Romania's commitments to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the European Union (EU), which have provided Bucharest with up to 25 billion euros in emergency credit.

"The privatisation process is proceeding as scheduled," Energy Minister Constantin Nita told a press conference.

"After Transgaz, we will sell a stake in Nuclearelectrica in May, followed in September by stakes in the gas producer Romgaz, the Oltenia energy plant and possibly in the electricity company Hidroelectrica," he added.

Nuclearelectrica is the company that operates a nuclear power plant in Cernavoda, southeastern Romania.

Deadlines for these sales have been repeatedly renegotiated with the IMF since Romanian authorities failed to keep to the initial timetable.

During an assessment mission in January, the IMF warned that stand-by credits would be terminated unless Romania sold part of its holding in Transgaz and launched the privatisation of rail freight carrier CFR Marfa by the end of June.

The IMF insists that the sale of big, loss-making transport and energy companies will spur economic growth, which is expected to reach 1.5 percent in 2013, up from 0.7 percent last year.

Romanian concluded a 20-billion-euro bailout deal with the IMF and the EU in 2009 in exchange for strict austerity measures.

In 2011, the country signed a new agreement for a credit line of 5.0 billion euros, to be drawn only in case of emergency.