Slovenia: No lawsuit against the former management at Petrol

, SEE Energy News

In October, the special audit of Petrol’s main transactions from the beginning of 2015 until the departure of the former management led by Tomaz Berlocnik in October last year found irregularities in eight of the 30 audited transactions.

The General Assembly of Slovenian energy company Petrol was acquainted with the results of a special audit of the operations of the former administration led by Tomaz Berlocnik. The audit found damage to the company in eight transactions, but there will be no claims for damages.

The Management Board, headed by Nada Popovic Drobne, proposed that the General Assembly be acquainted with the audit report on the basis of which lawsuits for damages are filed for eight transactions. She explained that the damage in certain transactions is descriptively defined in the audit, so additional experts should be hired to determine the amount of damage. This was opposed by the state, which directly and indirectly owns just over 30 % of the group’s shares.

The auditor considers some of the deficiencies to be grounds for liability for damages and has also identified elements of possible criminal liability. Based on the decision of Petrol’s Assembly of 12 December last year, BDO Revizija reviewed thirty transactions over one million euros concluded between 1 January 2015 and 24 October 2019 for the acquisition and disposal of long-term financial investments, other types of investments and sponsorship agreements. The audit found irregularities in transactions related to Mbills, Zagorski Metalac, Petrol Belgrade, Vjetroelektrarne Glunca, Petrol Hidroenergija, Atet, BH Petrol Oil Company. In these cases, it was a purchase of property or business shares of these companies and, in some cases, recapitalizations or the establishment of companies. Irregularities found are related to the violation of the provisions regarding the obligatory consent of the Supervisory Board, non-compliance with the required level of diligence or underestimation of the economic justification of the transaction.

Last October, CEO of Slovenian energy group Petrol Tomaz Berlocnik, along with another two members of the management, have unexpectedly resign after the meeting of the company’s Supervisory Board. According to Slovenian media, the consensual termination of the mandate was due to Supervisory Board’s disagreement with Berlocnik’s investment policy and suspicious projects in Croatia related to the acquisition of part of Crodux, especially since the company ran these deals without the approval of the Supervisory Board and state-owned SDH which holds 30 % stake in Petrol. Media reported that there was a disagreement over the investment policy in Slovenian and Western Balkans markets. Reportedly, Berlocnik insisted on three large investments in the region, which would be financed via bond issue, but that was unacceptable for the Supervisory Board and the representatives of the state.