Austrian oil and gas company OMV said it entered into a share sale and repurchase agreement for 10 million shares of Hungarian peer MOL in a notice sent to MOL.
The repo agreement involves the sale of the shares, making up 9.1% of all MOL shares, by OMV Clearing Treasury to Bayerische Hypo-Vereinsbank. The settlement date of repurchase by OMV is January 29, 2009.
OMV said there is no voting agreement regarding the transferred shares. The repo purchaser is free to exercise the voting rights attached to the shares.
As a result of the transaction, OMV's stake in MOL fell to 12.2 million shares or 11.1% of registered capital.
Voting rights of individual shareholders are capped at 10% in MOL's company charter.
The Austrian Press Agency reported the transaction was made to optimize OMV's financing structure.
OMV raised its stake from the 10% limit on voting rights, to 18.6%, in the summer of 2007. The move was seen as an attempted hostile takeover by MOL's management, which started making massive treasury share purchases and placing the shares with friendly investors. OMV made unwanted advances toward MOL for more than a year, raising its stake in the company to 20.2%. In August 2008, OMV said it decided to withdraw its merger notification with Brussels after the European Commission said it would not accept OMV's conditions for the deal.
Asked about the fate of OMV's stake in MOL after OMV said it was dropping its merger plans, CEO Wolfgang Ruttenstorfer said the company had no plans to sell the shares just yet, rather it wants to use them to “have a ticket to” the coming consolidation of the industry in Central and Eastern Europe. (MTI – Econews)