MOL, Croatian government resume talks on INA

Deals

Representatives of Hungarian oil-and-gas company MOL and the Croatian government resumed negotiations over Croatia-based INA in Zagreb on Friday, Croatian news agency HINA reported. HINA said the talks were expected to focus on management rights in INA, as announced earlier by Croatian Economy Minister Ivan Vrdoljak, who heads Croatia’s team of negotiators.

Representatives of Hungarian oil-and-gas company MOL and the Croatian government resumed negotiations over Croatia-based INA in Zagreb on Friday, Croatian news agency HINA reported.

HINA said the talks were expected to focus on management rights in INA, as announced earlier by Croatian Economy Minister Ivan Vrdoljak, who heads Croatia’s team of negotiators.

The Croatian government postponed talks with MOL slated for late October after MOL replaced its chief negotiator, Sandor Csányi, and changed its position.

At the talks on Friday, MOL’s negotiating team is being headed by MOL executives József Molnár and Oszkár Vilagi with INA CEO Zoltán Áldott.

The sides last held talks in September.

MOL owns a little under 50% of INA’s shares. The Croatian state is the other big stakeholder. The two shareholders have often been at odds over the way the company is managed, and tensions rose early in October, after Croatian police issued an arrest warrant for MOL chairman-CEO Zsolt Hernádi. He is suspected of bribing former Croatian prime minister Ivo Sanader to give MOL management rights in INA.

Hungary’s government responded to the issue of the warrant saying the Croatian government intended to use “unbusinesslike tools” to “pressure” MOL into parting with its stake in INA without making a buyout offer.

Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said later that Hungary’s “extraordinary” longstanding relationship with Croatia was far dearer than MOL’s stake in INA.

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