MOL, Croatia government to hold third round of negotiations on INA in January

Deals

The third round of negotiations between the Croatian government and MOL over INA is scheduled for mid-January, Croatian economy minister Ivan Vrdoljak said on Croatia's public service radio early this week.

“I hope we will be acquainted with concrete positions from the Hungarian partner. I believe that two scenarios are on the table: Either we will agree on the future of INA, its strategy and models for managing the company and for fulfilling strategic national interests in the energy sector, or we will depart in a decent, civilized and business-like way so as to enable some other strategic partner to negotiate with the government,” Croatia national news agency HINA quoted the minister as saying.

The Croatian government holds 44.84% of Croatian oil and gas company INA while MOL holds 49.1% plus management rights. The two started talks on INA’s future in September.
Vrdoljak reiterated that the Croatian side was in favor of an agreement which would honor the state’s interests. He also expects MOL to be more inclined to agreement in light of the fact that Standard & Poor’s revised down the rating of the leading Hungarian oil and gas group and that its share price fell as the uncertainty surrounding INA draw out.

When asked whether the matter how to run INA – that is, MOL’s management rights – was the main bone of contention, Vrdoljak answered in the negative: “Of course, [the Croatian state] must be a part of those who manage INA; it is normal for an owner who holds 44% to agree with the other owner with 49% stake on how to manage [the company] and to be able to have a say.”

He explained that after MOL started the process of consolidation, the other big shareholder could not have an impact on decision-making, adding that the Croatian state must have a mechanism for some influence on the processes.

As to whether Russia-based Rosneft or a Qatari delegation that recently visited Croatia had made inquiries about INA, the minister said that when it came to the energy sector there were no hasty decisions, but that there had been inquiries about INA.

MOL extends share-option agreements
MOL has extended share-option agreements concluded on February 7, 2013, with regard to 4,080,496 MOL Series-A Ordinary shares by one year. The effective date of the extension will be February 10, 2014.

MOL said that the company would continue to hold American call options and UniCredit will continue to hold European put options on the shares. The expiration of both the call and put options is one year from the previous expiration date and is subject to a further one-year extension. The strike price of both the call and put options remains unchanged at EUR 61.2656 per share.

MOL said that the company continues to own 2,484,346 A-Series and 578 C-Series Ordinary shares following the extension of the share-option agreements.

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