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MOL reportedly in talks to buy Tifon retail network

Hungarian oil group MOL is reportedly negotiating the acquisition of Croatian petrol retailer Tifon. Reuters has cited a Croatian daily publication as valuing the possible sale at €150 million.

According to Reuters, Tifon has a significant presence in Croatia, with a network of 33 petrol stations, which amounts to 8% of the region's total fuel retail segment. The retailer is owned by Ivan Cermak, a former Croatian general currently awaiting trial for war crimes. ifon could be planning to build another 25 petrol stations in Croatia, which would make it the second biggest retailer in the country, where Austrian oil firm OMV and Croatia's INA currently dominate.

Reuters cited the Croatian publication as reporting: „MOL and Tifon are expected to agree on details of the sale later this week or early next week. The deal should then be completed within a month.” Nevertheless, neither MOL nor Tifon were available for comment and ABC money has cited Erste Bank oil and gas analyst Tamás Pletser as saying that €150 million seems expensive.

The analyst also commented that Croatia is a historically difficult market in which to gain permission to open new petrol stations. The business publication reported another dealer as speculating that the deal to acquire Tifon would only benefit MOL if the company could up its 25% stake in INA to a controlling interest. INA has over 400 petrol stations in Croatia. (energy-business-review)