Croatia PM: Talk of INA buyout “irresponsible and frivolous”

Deals

The drama of negotiations between the Croatian government and oil-and-gas company MOL over ownership of Croatia-based peer INA continues, with that country’s prime minister himself questioning the viability of purchasing a lion’s share of the company.

Croatian Prime Minister Zoran Milanović yesterday colorfully opined in a session of parliament that advice suggesting his government buy up MOL’s 49.1% of INA – early on publicly advanced by Hungary’s PM Viktor Orbán – is “one of the most irresponsible and frivolous things” he had heard on the subject.

The comment hammered home Milanović’s statement on the weekend that such a deal would be pure “business adventurism” on the part of the Croatian government, given the current economic situation within the new EU member state, and comes just two days after Economy Minister Ivan Vrdoljak told Croatia’s state radio the government was “interested in principle” in buying MOL’s stake.

Meanwhile, a cabinet meeting held yesterday resulted in a request by Croatian government officials that MOL “clarify its stand on the sale of its stake in [INA],” according to local news outlet Jutarnji List. Said clarification would be due by the end of this month.

Negotations regarding INA, of which the Croatian government owns 44.84% restarted in earnest this week after MOL’s Friday announcement that its board of directors had authorized preparations to divest its 49.1% stake in the company.

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