Final Word from Friday, June 7, 2002

President Barry Kumins of the American Chamber of Commerce told the Chamber's members last night that to compete globally, the CR needs a climate where market pricing, not favored treatment, determines the viability of a business. Kumins is also president of Conoco CEE, and his words indirectly reflected the situation at Česká rafinérská (CRC), in which Conoco, Agip and Shell own 49%. They're in a dispute with majority owner Unipetrol over transfer pricing. The situation is complicated, but in essence there's a real risk that some or all of the foreign investors will eventually pull out of the loss-making refinery unless a long-term pricing agreement is reached. This would not only raise new questions about the CR's willingness to protect investors but also perhaps open the way for Russians to take over the CR's main gasoline supply.


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FS Final Word