Croatian PM comments on INA dividend proposal
Croatian Prime Minister Zoran Milanovic said late Tuesday that he needs more time to study a proposal for the payment of an extraordinary dividend by oil and gas company INA, Croatian news agency HINA was cited by Hungarian news agency MTI today.
Hungary's MOL, which holds a little less than a controlling stake in INA, made the proposal to pay a HRK 2 bln dividend — nearly all of the company's profit reserves — earlier Tuesday.
"I have to see what exactly they said, but it's not immediately clear to me. Such earnings, at least such was the policy, were usually left in the company for further investments," HINA quoted Milanovic as saying.
MOL and the state of Croatia, which holds about 45% of INA, have been at odds for years. Among the sources of tension is a perceived lack of investment in the company by MOL, the state's failure to take over INA's loss-making gas business, and charges of corruption.
Both stakeholders are in arbitration, and MOL CFO Jozsef Simola said days earlier that MOL would consider selling its stake in INA if talks with the government failed. Milanovic said the state could not reacquire MOL's stake in INA because it would cost "several billion euros".
"I'm sure that people in Croatia are aware that Croatia doesn't have that money, but we will insist that Croatia has refining capacity," he said. He called for continued efforts to reach an agreement with MOL. "We should sit down at the negotiating table, even in another format if that's possible," he said, HINA reported.
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