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Mol plans to buy refinery, build filling stations in Romania

Mol Rt, Hungary's biggest oil company, is planning to acquire a refinery and build new filling stations in Romania as part of its expansion in eastern Europe, a company spokeswoman said. “We have plans to acquire a refinery in the middle term, possibly in the next three to five years,'' Éva Csog, a spokeswoman for Mol's Romanian unit said by telephone. “But we can make it earlier, if there is an appropriate opportunity.'' The Hungarian oil company doesn't have any specific acquisition targets at the moment, Csog said. Mol have no plans to buy the Rafo Onesti refinery, the newswire Mediafax said today, citing Dumitru Dragomir, Mol Romania's finance manager. Budapest-based Mol is competing with companies like Austria's OMV AG and Russia's OAO Lukoil for customers in eastern Europe and the Balkans, where economies and fuel use are growing faster than in the west. Mol is also seeking acquisitions in Croatia, Bosnia and Serbia. The Hungarian company also plans to spend €20 million ($25.5 million) this year and next building new filling stations in Romania to boost its existing network of 135 stations and gain a 20% share of the Romanian fuel market, Csog said. Mol controlled 13% of the Romanian retail market at the end of March and doubled fuel sales in the country in the first quarter, according to Mol's earnings report. The company bought Royal Dutch/Shell Group's 59 filling stations in Romania last year for an estimated $70 million. (Bloomberg)