Simola: MOL's balance sheet is strong, INA sale still an option

Deals

MOL has built up a strong balance sheet for acquisitions, while the sale of its Croatian subsidiary, INA, was still an option, József Simola, chief financial officer of Hungarian oil and gas group MOL, said in an interview with CNBC on Wednesday.

"We have built up a strong, flexible balance sheet. There are several billion dollars available for acquisitions. On the other hand, we are not in a rush, we have to wait for the appropriate moment," Simola told CNBC in London, where MOL has signed a USD 1.5 bln loan agreement with banks at the end of October.

The CFO also confirmed that MOL would be happy to sell its stake in INA if it cannot agree with the Croatian government on important principles. But he repeated that priority was given to talks with the Croatian government, and talks should accelerate now that the Croatian government has accepted the U.S. as a mediator. "Our preferred option is a negotiated outcome with the Croatian government," Simola said about the protracted dispute over management rights in INA, in which MOL holds a 49.08% stake, with the Croatian state owning 44.84% of the company.

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