OMV remains interested in Croatian energy firm

Deals

In a letter sent to Croatian financial market regulator Hanfa, Austrian oil company OMV said it had never had the intention to make a formal public offer for the takeover of Croatian oil company INA, but it did not exclude participation in its eventual privatization.

Hungary's MOL announced on July 14 that plans to make a public offer for all free-float INA shares. The market regulator said just on Tuesday that MOL has until August 14 to provide it with details of the bid. MOL, which holds 25% of INA, also said last week it is still in talks with the Croatian government on the future of the remaining state-owned shares, which make up 44.8% of all shares.

OMV said it would closely follow INA's eventual future privatization or the sale of its shares, and, depending on conditions offered, make a decision on its possible participation in the process, OMV said in a letter published on Tuesday. OMV also revealed there were two instances to date when it asked information of and possibility in parttake in the sale of INA shares.

OMV sent the letter in response to two letters of inquiry sent by HANFA regarding the possible acquisition of INA shares.

OMV said it sent a letter to Zagreb-based Erste Invest, asking it “to record our interest in the acquisition of shares in INA held by the Fond hrvatskih branitelja.” “We also noted that in the event of an intention to dispose of such shareholding in INA (or a portion thereof), we would appreciate it if we would be given an opportunity to bid or otherwise participate in the sale process,” the Hina newspaper reported.

OMV also said on July 9 it sent a letter to Croatian Deputy Prime Minister Damir Polancec, saying that it would appreciate it if “in the event of an intention to dispose of the Government's shareholding in INA (or a portion thereof), (the government) would inform us and give us an opportunity to bid or otherwise participate in the sales process.”

OMV said that it had never sent any other letter to other INA shareholders and never publicly stated or implied that it wanted to make a public offer for INA shares.

OMV continues to be interested in being informed of sales conditions and transactions and it wants to be taken into consideration in case any sales transactions are undertaken, either by the government or the said fund.

“...we are herewith not expressing or intending to express any intention to actually purchase INA shares nor are we expressing or intending to express an intention to make a public offer for INA shares,” the company said in the letter to HANFA. (MTI – Econews)

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