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MOL preps further for possible sale of INA

Deals

Oil-and-gas giant MOL has asked the board of its Croatia-based unit INA to set up a data room for a third party to undertake due diligence in preparation for the possible sale of its stake in the company, INA’s board said on Friday.

INA’s share price jumped 11.7% after the board’s announcement was published on the website of the Zagreb Stock Exchange.

Croatia’s economy ministry responded to the step by MOL saying Croatia wants INA to become a vertically-integrated business with a strong regional presence. Shareholders should have a say in the company’s management in proportion to their ownership stakes, it added.

The government said it wanted to continue talks with MOL but added that it would "continue to defend national interests in the energy sector".

Hungarian oil and gas company 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 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.

Croatia’s government on Thursday decided to move retail gas supply from INA’s gas business to national power company HEP for a period of three years from April 1. MOL said the measure would require INA to transfer HRK 250 million to HRK 350 million (HUF 10.2 billion to HUF 14 billion) a year of its own revenue to HEP.

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