On 19 August OMV Petrom, one of the largest energy groups in Eastern Europe, announced plans for a secondary listing on the London Stock Exchange (LSE). The offering is subject to shareholder approval on 22 September. OMV Petrom is 19% owned by Romania’s investment fund, Fondul Proprietatea, the world’s largest closed-end fund.
The fund is rumoured to be interested in a sale of a significant stake in the company as it attempts to return cash to shareholders. Given the low liquidity levels on the Bucharest Stock Exchange, a secondary listing in London is the more viable venue. If approved at the shareholders meeting, OMV Petrom would follow in the footsteps of two other local companies with dual listings in both London and Bucharest – Romgaz, and Electrica. OMV Petrom is currently Romania’s most valuable company with a market capitalization of approximately US$ 5.5billion. The firm signed an agreement with Exxon in 2008 for exploration off the coast of the Black Sea, and recently discovered significant gas reserves earlier this year.