La Sonara [Société nationale de raffinage] has been in bankruptcy since the 2014 financial year, in accordance with the provisions of article 664 of the Ohada uniform act relating to commercial companies and Group law of economic interest, because its equity is less than half of its share capital ”.
This is the finding established by the Technical Commission for the Rehabilitation of Public and Parapublic Sector Enterprises (CTR) in its 2019 report on public enterprises and establishments in Cameroon as of December 31, 2018. Indeed, on this date, indicates the CTR, the company’s equity is estimated at – CFAF 60.35 billion while its share capital has increased from CFAF 32.5 billion to CFAF 19.5 billion.
Furthermore, says the Commission, “ for the first half of 2019, the budgetary risk at Sonara worsened with the favorable opinion of the National Committee of Public Debt (CNDP) for the prefinancing of $ 160 million, proposed by the trader Vitol at Sonara ” .
The purpose of this loan was to reimburse the amounts owed to suppliers of crude oil since 2013, as well as to finance the working capital requirement, following the increase in the production capacity of the refinery from 2.1 million tonnes to 3.5 million tonnes.
In addition, reveals the CTR, the fire that ravaged Sonara, on May 31, 2019, led to a worsening of the debt situation of the company, whose commitments to honor in the more or less short term, amount to a total amount of 898.38 billion FCFA.
For the Commission, the debt level of Sonara is a budgetary risk for the State. Worse, stresses the CTR, “ The current situation augurs cases of default on debts, for which the responsibility of the shareholders of the company (foremost among which is the State) should be called. Faced with this risk, it is important to avoid Sonara’s debts vis-à-vis local banks being classified as bad debts, anything likely to lead to the deterioration of the financial situation of the credit institutions concerned and to the failure by the latter to comply with the prudential standards of Cobac [Central African Banking Commission] ”.
Sonara is a mixed economy company created on March 24, 1973. It is owned 4% by Total and 96% by the State. It is a topping reforming refinery, that is to say simple. It was originally designed to process light crude (Arabian light). However, Cameroon currently produces heavy crudes. There is therefore a mismatch between the existing tool at the refinery and the crudes available. This is the reason why the country regularly imports petroleum products.
Source: Agence Ecofin