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Nevenka Cuckovic; Kresimir Jurlin and Valentina Vuckovic Institute for International Relations (IMO) , Zagreb, Croatia

Joint Ifri-LSEE Conference Research Programme for South East Europe Brussels, 2 December 2010 Privatization of the public services sector in Croatia and SEE: the case of INA oil and gas industry Draft, please do not quote!. Nevenka Cuckovic; Kresimir Jurlin and Valentina Vuckovic

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Nevenka Cuckovic; Kresimir Jurlin and Valentina Vuckovic Institute for International Relations (IMO) , Zagreb, Croatia

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  1. Joint Ifri-LSEE ConferenceResearch Programme for South East EuropeBrussels, 2 December 2010Privatization of the public services sector in Croatia and SEE: the case of INA oil and gas industryDraft, please do not quote! Nevenka Cuckovic; Kresimir Jurlin and Valentina Vuckovic Institute for International Relations (IMO), Zagreb, Croatia

  2. Summary • Main aim and specific research objectives of the project • Key research questions, conceptual framework and methodology • Selected indicators of INA (Croatian oil and gas industry) post-privatisation performance • Comparisons with the selected SEE and EU NMS • Further research steps

  3. Mainaim of the research • Main aim is to identify and assess the underlying economic and social impacts of privatisation of public utilities’ performance in energy and communication sectors in Croatia as compared to SEE and the new EU members • The specific research objectives are: • To contribute to the present policy debate on quality of performance of privatised public utilities linking it with improving competition in services delivery, but also not loosing sight of on consumer’s interests and potential adverse social effects. • To provide the comparative EU-NMS and SEE regional perspective in identifying a sort of balance-sheet of privatisation costs and benefits; • To produce a policy relevant research pointing out to instructive experiences and best practices for improving service performance of companies in selected public utilities sectors in Croatia and for the region of SEE;

  4. Key research questions • To what extent the process of privatisation, market restructuring and regulation of state-owned enterprises in selected public sectors (telecommunications, energy sector) has contributed to improved delivery of services, corporate governance and cost efficiency of these enterprises? • What have been the effects of the privatisation process in INA (Oil and Gas Industry) and Croatian Telecom (telecommunications) on the prices as well as the transparency and accountability of their business performance? • To what extent it has resulted in improved management of these companies? • How did they manage to balance enterprises’ (often monopolies) interests with consumer interests? Are the services delivered more efficiently and less costly after they were privatised? Does the privatisation benefit more industrial consumers than others (private or households)? How much it was driven by the accession process and Maastricht convergence criteria? • What has been the impact on capital spending and investment of such companies? • What role have the independent regulative agencies played to deal with a problem of imperfect competition in selected public utilities sectors (telecommunications, energy sector) in order to protect the consumer interests, protect competition and discourage market abuse? • What was the political influence of the state administration on the management of public enterprises? How successful was the separation of policy function of the government; regulatory enforcement and functioning of these enterprises?

  5. Conceptual framework • Privatisation; restructuring; improved market regulation and competition in the public utilities and services sectors have been a widespread in both western and post-socialist reform packages; • Controversy of keeping them in state hands or passing them to private ownership has not been entirely resolved after more than 20 years of experiences- the answers still inconclusive; • The research results will be contextualised within the growing body of empirical literature on both private and public options of ownership and management concepts and derive the instructive experiences relevant for the region of the SEE.

  6. Methodology and Empirical Data • Qualitative and quantitative assessment of the various privatisation impacts- a sort of balance sheet of costs and benefits; • Review of the main conclusions of the various empirical studies contrasting those supporting and questioning evidence on improved efficiency and services delivery; • To add new empirical insights - two case studies of privatized public enterprises selected in Croatia to collect specific empirical data and explore in-depth the issues of economic and social costs and benefits; • Croatian Telecom (telecommunications) and INA (oil and gas company) were selected to provide additional insights- the companies from SEE still rather rare in international studies. • Performance indicators analyses and in-depth interviews with key managers in the Executive and Supervisory boards of T-Com and INA; experts in regulatory agencies of these sectors and major stakeholders (academic and government experts, trade unions, employers and business associations etc).

  7. Privatisation of INA (national oil national oil and gas industry) • During the 1990s INA was declared as an enterprise of strategic importance and was declared as 100% owned by state • Privatisation postponed until 2003 and adoption of INA Privatization Act (2002); • At the time of privatisation the most valuable public sector company in Croatia and leading regional petrochemical company; • Traditionally under high influence of politics: top management was selected on that merit (political appointments) thus easy to control; • Was often used as a cash machine for different government appetites and therefore embarked into privatization quite late: • The main reason behind privatization was Budgetary problems as some of the substantial cost items (such as return of debt to pensioners by the rule of Supreme Court) could not be covered without increasing proceeds from privatization.

  8. Glance over company profile and initial conditions prior to privatization • INA general business activities: a) research and production of oil and gas; b) refining; c) storage of petroleum and its products; d) wholesale and retail trade of gas, oil and derivates • The search for strategic partner was motivated by need of intensive commercial restructuring of state-owned company; the need for introduction of modern corporate governance and improvement of cost-efficiency and product factor efficiency; new capital investments for technological modernisation and advancement of company- all to improve the possibilities to better compete with other major market players in the region of SEE. • Also it was viewed that entry of strategic partner in the ownership structure would be not only most profitable for the company on the longer run, but also for the Government as the second major shareholder of company assets and the Budget.

  9. Snapshot on importance of INA for Croatian economy…. • With 3,8 bin EUR of total INA sales revenues (2008) represented 9.5% of GDP of Croatia in 2007 and around 7 % of GDP in 2009; • INA Group employs over 16,000 persons what is about 1.1% of total persons employed in Croatia in 2009 (prior to financial and economic crises 1.3% in 2007) • Also share in paid VAT and oil derivates excises is a substantial item for the Croatian Budget-in 2009 INA Group share represents 4.6% of total Croatian VAT revenues. as well as more than 2/3 of all oil derivates excises paid to the state Budget. • INA Group share of income taxes and contributions represent 2.4% of total Croatian tax revenues,

  10. INA (Croatian oil and gas company) privatisation stages • Law on Privatization of INA that was enacted by Croatian Government in 2002 (Official Gazette 32/02). • Public enterprises left outside the main privatization process and the separate legislation has been passed for each public utilities & services companies. • 25% plus one share assigned to be sold to a strategic partner; 15% of shares by a public auction at the stock exchange to small investors; 7% of the total stock was assigned for war veterans and members of their families; while additional 7% is to be sold to present and former employees on discounted prices; • In the first instance in 2003, the 25% plus one share was sold to Hungarian MOL (Hungarian oil and gas company) for about 5O5 million USD. The main competitor for the sale was Austrian OMV but as he offered less, Mol won.

  11. After different privatization stages…. • In the second instance, in 2005 7% of the value all INA shares was transferred to the Croatian War Veterans and their family members without compensation. • The third stage of privatization process started in 2006 and it was marked by public offer of 15% of ordinary INA shares to the Croatian citizens on preferential terms (pre-emptive right). • The further stage was implemented in 2007 and involved the privatisation of further 7% of INA shared to the present and former employees on a discount of 1% of share value for each working year. • The last stage of the privatization process came on 5th September 2008 when MOL gave a public offer to acquire additional shares of INA, which resulted with rise of its share in INA ownership to 47.16%. As a result of this the Croatian Government reduced its share to 44.84% (Two major shareholders hold 92% of share capital). Institutional investors hold 8%.

  12. INA- Selected post-privatization performance indicators - Net Revenues, 2005-2009

  13. INA- Capital investments rate increase… Source: INA Annual reports 2003-2009

  14. But, new investments cause substantial surge in debt/equity ratio increases….

  15. And return on capital(ROE) plunges….

  16. As wellasearningsbeforeinterest, tax, depreciation&amortization(EBITDA)/net sale ratio…

  17. Retail service in number of filling stations home and abroad - INA stagnating… • Source: INA; MOL and OMV Annual reports 2005-2009

  18. Table 1. Privatization of national oil and gas companies in selected SEE and EU NMS

  19. Selected SEE comparative picture: privatized companies net profit rate

  20. Selected SEE comparative picture: privatized companies earnings per share

  21. Rate of capital investments in selected SEE privatized oil and gas companies

  22. SEE privatized oil and gas: number of employees after privatization

  23. Decrease of number of employees in chart…

  24. Preliminary analyses of qualitative data (assessments/opinions) collected through interviews • Spectrum of different sometimes quite opposing views depending on the “side" interviewed (management board, supervisory board; regulatory agency, independent experts; trade unions). Nevertheless, very informative. • To illustrate, most of the board members naturally find that privatisation brought a lot of positive developments to the company in terms of bringing in professional and not political management; adoption of international corporate governance standards and codes; increase of financial transparency, reporting and accounting standards; improvement of technology, as well as quality and diversity of services and products, etc. • The independent experts however question especially the level of new investments especially in production facilities and the level of technological modernisation of refineries. Also they question the visible shifts in quality of retail services of INA as compared to competitors.

  25. But these insights, although expert biased very useful for explaining specifics of company and market… • Nevertheless, these insights are very useful when explaining performance indicators based on INA financial reports as some of the unusual upwords/downwords are result of specific events and decisions made at company level (such as substantial capital investments; increase of debts to finance single capital investments; programme of laying off-workers etc) • Companies performance indicators in this sector are also heavily influenced by specific business environment i.e. regulation of market competition and prices as well as indirect/direct impact of politics on prices (for instance increase of oil derivates surtaxes to finance highways’ loans and to cope with Budget deficit, etc.). • The level of independence of regulators from government; world financial crisis effects or impact of prices ups and downs at world market also substantially affects business performance and should not be overlooked when assessing general post-privatisation performance of INA and other SEE oil and gas companies

  26. Further research steps…. • Completion of analysis of the empirical data for both case studies; • Completion of analysis of the financial reports and statistical data to establish the progress in cost efficiency, corporate governance and management quality; quality in service delivery; investments: employment; • Comparative benchmark analyses and best practices. • Completion of research report (End February 2011).

  27. Thank you for your attention! Dr Nevenka Čučković Institute for International Relations (IMO) Lj. F. Vukotinovica 2/2 10000 Zagreb, CROATIA Tel: +385-1-4877-475, Fax:+385-1-4828-361 E-mail:nena@irmo.hr

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