The company “NjeftegazInKor” from Russia, which is engaged in the production and trade of oil and oil derivatives, increased its capital by about 900 million euros in the “Optima Grupa” from the end of December 2018 to the middle of April 2021.
According to this data, from the court register, this is one of the largest investments in the territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) since 1995.
The company itself, as well as the Agency for Intermediary, IT, and financial services Banja Luka (APIF), to which, according to the law, the registration of capital changes must be reported, did not respond to inquiries about the recapitalization of “Optima Grupa”, and whether there was an additional investment in this company.
On the website of this company, founded in 2008, it is stated that the recapitalization was carried out, but not the amount of capital.
”Optima Grupa” asked for a license to trade gas
While the capital injection process was being completed, “Optima Grupa” asked the Regulatory Commission for Electricity of Republika Srpska (RERS) for a license to trade gas in BiH, which it received in August last year.
Four months after that, in December 2021, a gas compressor station was put into operation at the oil refinery in Brod, in the north of BiH, which implemented the contract from 2019 on the supply of natural gas between the Croatian company “Crodux”, as the holder of the gasification project, and of the Russian “Zarubezhneft”, through its daughter company “NjeftegazInKor”.
What is known about the plans?
When asked whether the commissioning of the station in the refinery in Brod can be linked with the plans of “Optima Grupa” for the distribution of gas in BiH, the interlocutors of the interview for energy questions underline that this is not yet concretely known, because the company does not publish too much information.
Considering the capacity of the CNG plant (compressed natural gas), and the pipe provided under the Sava River, this is a serious investment, i.e. serious capacity, so they are probably aiming for the market of the entire BiH, but for now everything is in the story, at least as far as I know nothing spectacular happened,” says Almir Becarevic, energy expert and former advisor to the director of “BH Gas”.
The installation of gas pipelines under the Sava river bed made it possible to connect the refinery in Brod to the Croatian gas network at the Slobodnica junction.
The oil refinery in Brod, which is part of the Russian “Nestro” group, which also includes the “Optima Grupa”, is planned for gasification from 2018.
What is known about “Optima Grupa”?
”Optima Grupa” is a company with limited liability for the production and sale of oil and oil derivatives, based in Banja Luka.
It was founded by the Russian company “NjeftegazInKor” a.d. in 2008, with 100 percent participation in the company’s share capital. It is a subsidiary of the Russian state giant “Zarubezhneft” a.d. based in Moscow.
What does recapitalization mean?
Ivan Brodic, an editor of the regional energy portal “Energy Press”, reminds that “Optima Grupa” as a limited liability company is not on the stock exchange, and therefore has no obligation for great transparency.
”It would be logical to expect that they will appear on the market as a gas importer, or an investor in some infrastructure, or both because we are talking about a rather large investment. For the scale of the BiH economy, and especially the RS, it is an investment equal to a Space Shuttle,” evaluates Brodic and adds that the question is what will happen in the next period regarding the gas infrastructure in BiH.
”Optima Grupa’ wasn’t a big player a few years ago, I even saw a report that they weren’t doing particularly well in the balance sheets. Now, is it related to the story about the cessation of trade in Russian gas in BiH through a Hungarian company and the transition to trade through the Turkish stream – we can speculate, but it is possible that we should think in that direction as well,” Brodic states, Radio Slobodna Evropa reports.