Dan Weiler of Romania’s giant BCR bank said that the privatization of electric grid operator Translectrica lured no less than 34 investment funds, pension funds and asset management companies. No small fish, he says. One of the players is capitalized around 10 billion euro. The swarm of competitors signals a major discount price for what is basically a natural monopoly. Privatization is most likely to be bad news for consumers, as private investors would push for higher prices in the energy supply grid.
The government could at least pledge to use the money from the sale to kick start a development bank for high value added green sectors or to spend more on public research. Some of the BCR privatization money were once deposited in a development fund by austerity forced the government to spend it. At some point the minister of Economy Lucian Bode hinted that the executive is preparing a development fund whose seed money will come from privatizations of utilities. Now I see that the premier started talking about a Norwegian-style fund again. Let’s hope they do it.