MOL-INA arbitration starts in Washington

Deals

Croatia's deputy economy minister acknowledged the start on Thursday of an arbitration case that Hungarian oil and gas company MOL launched in Washington because of a dispute over Croatian peer INA, Croatian news agency HINA said on Friday.

Sabina Skrtic said Croatia expects a ruling in keeping with international law. The Croatian economy ministry and the government wish to protect Croatian interests from possible financial damage, she added.

MOL filed a request for arbitration with the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) in Washington last November to "commence arbitration proceedings against the Government of Croatia for breaching certain of its obligations and undertakings in relation to MOL's investments in Croatia", referring to its stake in INA.

MOL holds a little less than 50% of INA's shares. The state of Croatia owns about 45%. A perceived lack of investment in the company by MOL and the state's alleged failure to take over INA's loss-making gas business, as stipulated in a shareholders agreement, have been sources of tension between the two stakeholders.

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