Albania's Albpetrol sell-off scrapped as accusations fly
Albania's attempt to privatise the state oil and gas firm has stumbled
If the EU required evidence of Albania's inability to improve transparency and accountability in government and business, then it need look no further than the fiasco surrounding the recent attempt to privatise the country's most valuable asset, state oil and gas firm
In February, the Albanian government was forced to scrap the tender for 100% of Albpetrol after it first had to invalidate the winning bid from a consortium headed by local businessman Rezart Taci because it failed to come up with a down payment, then had to abandon talks with the second-placed bidder, China's Win Business Petroleum Group, because, under the tender rules, the bids had expired.
Minister of Economy, Trade and Energy Edmond Haxhinasto told local television station Top Channel on 20 February that a re-run of the tender would probably be held after the 23 June general election. Haxhinasto also denied any responsibilityon the part of the Albanian authorities for the tender's failure, though observers say serious questions remain to be answered. No guarantee
On 8 February, the Albanian government broke a two-month silence on the deal by announcing that Vetro had failed to come up with a down payment of €170 million ($221m), equal to 20% of its winning bid, and so its bid was deemed invalid.
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