Szijjártó urges Croatia, MOL to reach INA resolution

Deals

The Croatian government must reach an agreement with Hungarian oil and gas company MOL on buying out the latterʼs stake in local peer INA, but at least the money invested in INA must return to Hungary, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártó told Hungarian news agency MTI late Wednesday.

"It happens that a change takes place in the privatization strategy of a country, and we understand this," Szijjártó said, referring to similar experiences in Hungary. However, he added that the negotiating parties must be aware that "at least as much money as the amount that left Hungary through investments in INA must return to Hungary in the event of the repurchase of the INA stake."

Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenković said in late December that the state would buy back MOLʼs 49% stake in INA. The announcement followed a decision by the Arbitral Tribunal of the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) dismissing the Croatian governmentʼs claims against MOL of bribery and alleged breaches of a shareholdersʼ agreement.

A 2009 amendment of INAʼs shareholdersʼ agreement gave MOL three seats, including the chair of INAʼs six-member board of directors, with the other three seats as well as a right of veto in special strategic issues held by the Croatian government. MOL also has five places on INAʼs nine-member supervisory board. 

MOL bought 25% plus one share of INA for USD 505 million in 2003 and raised its stake to 47.16% in a public purchase offer, paying a total of EUR 873 mln for 22.16% of the shares in 2008. 

MOL currently holds 49.08% of INA shares. Its holding is worth about EUR 1.9 billion at market price. The Croatian government holds a 44.84% stake.

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