Hungary, Poland to halt MOL’s expansion over its ties to Russia

, SEE Energy News

The Polish Senate passed a new law preventing Hungarian MOL to buy 417 Lotos petrol stations in TS Poland.

The two companies signed an acquisition agreement worth 610 million dollars in January, but the upper house of the Polish Parliament vetoed it. If the agreement had been carried through, MOL would have become the third biggest fuel retailer in the Polish market.

The agreement’s prerequisite was the European Commission’s green light on the fusion of Lotos and PKN Orlen. The Commission cleared earlier that they would allow the fusion only if Lotos sold at least 80 % of its petrol stations to avoid the creation of a monopoly. Furthermore, Lotos had to sell its shares (30 %) in the Gdansk oil refinery.

Senate’s Speaker Tomasz Grodzki said that their original plan was not to sell Lotos petrol stations to MOL, a company controlled by Russian money, especially not at the time of an ongoing war between Russia and Ukraine. He also said that Hungary’s behavior regarding the conflict was odd and incomprehensible and expressed hope that the lower house of the Polish Parliament would accept the proposal of the Senate.

Many senators believe that selling the petrol stations and the shares in the Gdansk oil refinery is against national interest, adding that MOL is in a close relationship with Russia.

MOL Group said in January that, through this acquisition, it continues its expansion and is represented in its tenth country through the Consumer Services segment. The number of service stations in the MOL portfolio reached 2,390 and they are operated under five different brands. Also included are the 120 newly acquired OMV petrol stations in Slovenia, as well as the 95 new stations in Slovakia and Hungary.