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Petrom invests €100 mln in new Bucharest service center

Petrom SA, Romania's biggest oil company, said it will invest as much as €100 million ($128 million) to build an accounting and computing center in Bucharest, the national capital. The center, to be built over the next few years, will provide accounting, computer and communications services for Petrom's exploration, production, refining, marketing, gas and chemicals units, the company said in a statement today. Petrom is presently owned by Austria's OMV AG with 51% of its shares, the Romanian State - 40.74%, the European bank for Reconstruction and Development – 2.03% and by minority shareholders – 6.23%. The Bucharest-based company said the center will increase the speed and quality of accounting and computer services and will employ 1,200 people, most of them currently with the company's computer and finance departments. The center will be the largest of its kind in southeastern Europe, Petrom CFO Reinhard Pichler said in the statement. He gave no timeframe for its construction. In order to consolidate our leadership position, to ensure the company’s future and to close the gap to standards, which are internationally competitive, we have entered a modernization process. This process is aimed at improving the operation costs and performance position of the company. Petrom sees an unprecedented capital for investment in the company’s core activities and operations, with around €3 billion to be invested until 2010. (Bloomberg,