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Croatia minister: MOL behavior “inconsistent” in INA negotiations

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Croatian Economy Minister Ivan Vrdoljak yesterday warned that MOL shareholders could pay a high price for “inconsistent behavior” in a dispute between MOL and Vrdoljak’s government over management rights in Croatian gas-and-oil company INA, Croatian news agency HINA reported.

It’s obvious that there is a lot of nervousness on the Hungarian side,” Vrdoljak said.

MOL reported on Tuesday evening that it had filed a request for arbitration with the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) concerning the dispute; Vrdoljak opined to HINA yesterday that MOL was launching the arbitration “with some incomplete information” and that the company’s “nervousness is not good, primarily for MOL shareholders because they will pay the highest price of those jitters and inconsistent behavior.”

For Vrdoljak, the key to successful negotiations on the matter are down to MOL clearly defining its strategic goals: “We ask that they clearly state their objectives [as to whether] we will go to court, come to an agreement, negotiate or sell. These ambiguous messages are not becoming of serious people like our colleagues in MOL...”

Though Vrdoljak did not answer specific questions about a government response to MOL’s request for arbitration or the negotiations in general, he promised that the Croatian government has ways to protect strategic national interests and it will certainly do so.

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