MOL to propose INA pay €260 mln extraordinary dividend

Deals

Hungarian oil and gas company MOL on Tuesday said it had requested an extraordinary general meeting of shareholders of Croatian peer INA "as soon as possible" to vote on a proposal to pay a HRK 2 bln (€260 mln) dividend.

MOL said it would like to propose the €260 mln dividend "at this stage" in the announcement, published on the website of the Budapest Stock Exchange, without offering any further details. However, in a statement published on molincroatia.com, a website MOL launched in the spring to clarify its own position on developments involving INA, it expanded on the announcement.

"MOL saved INA from bankruptcy, stabilized it financially and turned it into a profitable company with a significant investment potential," MOL said on the website.

"After the Ministry of Economy’s last decision to revoke the licences for exploration in Sava and North-Western Croatia the shareholders understood that the Ministry is currently not supporting an investment friendly environment in Croatia and therefore the time has come now for all shareholders to realize return of their previous investments," it added.

MOL holds a little less than 50% of INA's shares, but has management rights in the company. 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.

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.

INA's balance sheet shows HRK 2.328 bln in its profit reserves at the end of September, including HRK 386 mln in statutory reserves.

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