The International Monetary Fund "is discussing" with Romania's government about the future of the national rail freight carrier CFR Marfa after the privatisation process failed, the IMF said on Thursday.
"We have taken note of the fact that the potential investors did not pre-qualify for the bidding process for the majority privatization of CFR Marfa. We are discussing with the authorities on the best way forward," Tonny Lybek, the IMF representative in Romania and Bulgaria said in a press statement.
The sale of the heavily-indebted, loss-making carrier is one of the conditions set by the International Monetary Fund and the European Union for an aid deal concluded in 2011 with Romania.
Deadlines for the sale have been repeatedly renegotiated with the IMF and Romania's government had pledged to complete CFR Marfa privatisation by the end of June.
OmniTRAX, one of US largest private railway management groups, the Romanian private rail transporter Grupul Feroviar Roman (GFR) and a consortium formed by the Romanian firm TFG and the Austrian investment fund Donau-Finanz applied as bidders for CFR Marfa.
The starting price for a 51-per cent stake in CFR Marfa was set at 800 million lei (US$230 million, 180 million euros) and the winning bid was to be announced on June 20.
But on Wednesday the ministry of Transport said that none of the candidates qualified.
"We will restart the privatisation process in the coming days", the ministry said without elaborating further.