Croatian ministry: All options open on INA

Deals

All options were possible for solving problems caused by the strained relations between the Croatian government and Hungary's MOL oil company, the largest shareholder in its Croatian peer, INA, the Croatian economy ministry told Croatian news agency HINA on Monday in a comment on media reports on a possible purchase of MOL's shares in INA.

But the ministry is now focusing on negotiations with MOL, it added. "As regards information published in today's dailies, the Economy Ministry can confirm that all options are being considered at expert level to deal with the current situation, with MOL trying to disrupt the country's energy stability and INA's development," the ministry said.

Croatian daily Jutarnji List said on Monday that the Croatian economy ministry has sent the US State Department a proposal that the Croatian government, the second largest shareholder in INA, could buy out MOL from INA. Earlier, the US government has offered friendly mediation in the dispute between the Croatian government and MOL over INA.

The daily also said that the Croatian state could make the purchase by taking out a €2.6 bln loan, offering its stake in INA as collateral. The ministry said that "MOL's announcements about a possible sale of its stake in INA, as well as its failure to carry out its business plans regarding INA's development and its decisions that are contrary to the interests of the Croatian state, have prompted the government to consider all options."

However, no decision, especially not one on a possible buyout of MOL had been made, it added. The Croatian economy ministry "is now focused on the arbitration proceedings and the completion of the negotiating process with MOL, and it expects the negotiations to continue in mid-November," the ministry said in response to HINA's inquiry.

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