Croatia: Talks between INA and MOL

, SEE Energy News

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. Consultancy company Lazard has presented its due diligence report on the national oil company INA to the Government‟s Council for INA, adding that the final report is expected in a month, while the first meeting with the representatives of Hungarian oil and gas company MOL is expected by the end of June, said Croatian Minister of Environment and Energy Tomislav Coric.

Minister Coric commented that the Council is pleased with the work done, but he did not reveal details of the report, noting that INA was listed on the stock exchange which narrows the Government’s maneuvering space.

The Council for INA is a Government advisory body established in January 2017 with the task of providing guidance and proposing measures and decisions for the preparation, implementation, and financing of the possible buyback of MOL’s stake in INA.

Last August, US investment bank Lazard has been selected as the Croatian Government’s consultant on the buyback of the Hungarian MOL’s stake in Croatian oil company INA. A consortium of Morgan Stanley, Intesa Sanpaolo Group and Privredna Banka Zagreb had previously been selected as a consultant, but that disagreements had emerged over what should be included in the agency agreement, notably technical aspects of the hiring of consultants. Therefore, the Government decided to conduct interviews with other bidders from the first round and finally selected a new consultant – Lazard. 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 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.