Netherlands-based The Rompetrol Group NV (“TRG”) announced that the rating outlook issued today by Fitch Ratings will not influence its operational or financial capacity.
“The negative outlook rating does not imply a rating change is inevitable or imminent” according to Fitch’s definition of this instrument. The change has an advisory character and was issued following an illegal freeze ordered last week by Romanian prosecutors on 25.89 percent of unpledged TRG shares in Rompetrol Rafinare SA (RRC), TRG’s main Romanian subsidiary. TRG will continue to retain voting and management rights over its assets, as well as the ability to receive dividends.
“While the Fitch advisory is understandable, it is the effect of an abusive and unfounded protracted investigation conducted publicly by the General Prosecutor’s Office of Romania (GPO), designed to damage TRG’s reputation, harm its business, and hurt a number of individual managers and owners of the company, including myself,” said Philip Stephenson, TRG Vice Chairman.
“This unilateral action by the prosecutors, which we have immediately challenged, in no way affects shares that are already pledged. It freezes only the shares held by TRG that are without any secured interest, means or encumbrances. We are confident that through legal means we will get this prosecutorial act nullified and thereby have the freeze on the shares lifted. Ultimately, we are confident that we will demonstrate that this is yet another abuse by the prosecutors which a court will remedy in our favor,” Stephenson detailed.
The Fitch report points out that the investigation has “had no impact on TRG’s liquidity” and that the “lending banks continue to fund the group on a secured basis.” The company has strengthened its international management and has put in place detailed contingency plans for any eventuality that could result from this investigation.