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  • Oil inventories concern OPEC – warns against stock building

The Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) has expressed concern about a rare increase in global crude oil inventories. Assuming production and demand remain the same until the end of this year, the oil cartel cited that this event would clearly define their policy that could trigger a potential cut in oil production and push up prices when OPEC ministers will meet in Cairo on 10th of December 2004. The 11 member cartel is adverse to crude inventories rising rapidly for prolonged periods in consuming countries as this can hit future  demand for its oil.  OPEC forcasts 4th Quarter demand to average 83.14 million barrels per day with Non-OPEC supplying 54.83 million barrels per day.  If OPEC is to maintain their last month production of 30.22 million b/d (its highest in 25 years), this would lead to a rise of global inventories of 1.91 million b/d. This is above the forecast of the International Energy Agency of 1.3 million b/d.  (Source: Financial Times) 

  • ENEL to move into Slovakia

ENEL have confirmed their offer to purchase a two thirds share in Slovenske Elektarne, the country’s largest power producer. The bid of just over $1 billion still needs approval from the Slovak authorities. Enel is keen to develop its presence in the area. (Source: Energy-Directory.com)

  • Endesa continues progress with strategic plan

Endesa Italia continued its process of consolidation in the Southern Europe by announcing completion of the first phase of repowering of its Tavaanzzano plant. The work included adding additional capacity and converting existing units to run combined cycle helping reduce emissions and improve efficiency. Phase 2 of the work is due for completion next year. (Source: Energy-Directory.com)

  • Arcelor predicts steel will cool

Guy Dollé, CEO of Arcelor, has noted that the steel industry will cool down next year after the massive price increase of the past 12 months which bouyed up profits in the sector.  Mr. Dollé was speaking after Arcelor reporting their quarterly result with this year third quarter net profit rising six folds as compared to last year.  He also noted his concern about rising cost of raw materials such as coking coal and iron ore. Against this negative impact, the company was realising the results of efficiency programmes which were likely to cut costs by € 500 million for the year 2004. (Source: Financial Times)

  • Stelco’s protection is a bone of contention

Stelco, Canadian number one steelmaker, refuge in the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act (CCAA) – equivalent to the Chapter 11 of US bankruptcy code – has turned into a bone of considerable contention. At the time of filing, Mr. Courtney Pratt – CEO of Stelco –  said that the company was in such a poor financial shape that without any court protection Stelco would run out cash by the end of November.  In fact, the steel market has continued to flourish therefore propelling Stelco in less than a year from losses to a record third quarter profit (Stelco generating cash of US$ 183 million from operation since March of this year). The outlook has been sufficiently rosy that the Canadian company has become a coveted takeover target.  Two weeks ago, Severstal, the largest Russian steel maker, unveiled what one official describe as a very substantial bid.  The Russian steelmaker believes that Stelco will be a good fit with Rouge Steel in Michigan which they have bought last year. Both Stelco and Rouge work closely with automotive industry. Far from rejoicing, Stelco’s investor and worker union are all worried that they will be casualties of whatever deal  emerge to bring them out of CCAA protection which expires on 26th November of this year. (Source: Financial Times). 

  • Siemens takeover of VA Tech

Following the recent announcement by Siemens of its planned takeover of VA Tech Ag, VA Tech’s board is awaiting presentation of the takeover bid that will include details of the offer price and integration plan. VA Tech is particularly concerned about the implications of a lengthy process in an industry where they are in direct competition with Siemens in a large number of business areas. Siemens has just announced it has submitted a 55 euro / share bid to the Austrian regulator. (Source: Energy-Directory.com)

  • Growth in power services market in Eastern Europe

The continuing liberalisation and privatisation of electricity markets in Eastern Europe are providing ever increasing opportunities in the Power Services Market, so concludes a report issued by Frost & Sullivan. Privatisation is also seen as more likely to lead to outsourcing of activities such as maintenance providing a further boost to specialist services. In addition, there is continued growth in the area of plant refurbishment as new power producers are required to become more efficient and reduce harmful emissions. (Source: Energy-Directory.com)