Croatia: Buyout of MOL’s shares in INA

, SEE Energy News

In February, Hungarian MOL confirmed that it has entered talks with Croatian Government over the sale of MOL’s stake in Croatian oil company INA but, according to MOL’s CEO Joszef Molnar, the views of the two sides on the price of that stake are quite far apart. Molnar said that MOL was never against the agreement, but that it wants to sell its stake in INA at a price that would properly compensate it for its investments in the Croatian company.

Croatian Minister of Economy and Sustainable Development Tomislav Coric recently said, regarding the buyout of shares held by Hungarian MOL in Croatian oil company INA, that the communication with the Hungarian side continues and the Government should have a clear direction of where the deal is going by this summer.

Minister Coric also confirmed that MOL is doing due diligence for OMV Slovenia, which plans to sell its retail fuel network, and that INA, as a stakeholder in OMV Slovenia with slightly less than 8 % share, has the right to be the first to place an offer for 120 petrol stations, which should reach a price of between 250 and 360 million euros. He added that INA is planning a major expansion in retail in Slovenia. When asked more specifically who actually buys these petrol stations – INA, which has six petrol stations in Slovenia, or MOL, which has 53 and announced that it wants to expand its network in the region, Minister Coric said that the two companies are moving together towards this acquisition based on due diligence. In late 2016, Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic announced the Government’s intentions to buy back the stake of Hungarian oil company MOL in Croatian oil company INA, adding that the best model for financing the buyout would be the initial public offering (IPO) of 25 % minus one share of state-owned power utility HEP, since Croatia will keep, with 75 % plus one share, all management rights in HEP without selling national resources. However, the HEP option seems to be scrapped in the meantime. MOL is the single largest shareholder in INA with 49.1 % of shares, while the Croatian Government holds 44.8 %. The remaining 6.1 % is held by private and institutional shareholders.