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OMV threatens legal action over MOL failure to include proposals on AGM agenda

Austrian oil and gas company OMV has said it may take Hungarian peer MOL to court after it failed to include some of OMV’s proposals on the agenda of its annual shareholders’ meeting, Reuters reported from Vienna on Monday.

OMV submitted proposals for the AGM to vote on unwinding a number of share arrangements that appear to give MOL’s board undue influence over the company, appointing an independent auditor to determine whether these share arrangements are in the best interest of shareholders, and publishing the full AGM voting records. MOL’s board decided to include just one proposal, “to designate an auditor...with the purpose of examining the last annual report (of 2007) and certain events that took place within the management during the last 2 years.” MOL said the other two proposals were not within the competence of the AGM, neither as based on the Companies Act nor on MOL’s articles of incorporation. “OMV is likely to question before the courts the legality of the way that MOL has responded to OMV’s requests,” OMV said in a statement on Monday.

The Austrian group said MOL’s decision to reject the resolutions proposed by OMV had demonstrated its “complete disdain” for its independent shareholders. “This is despite the concerns raised by other institutional shareholders regarding the dubious way that MOL has parked shares with a number of ‘friendly’ third parties,” OMV said. OMV became MOL’s biggest shareholder last summer when it raised its stake over the 10% cap on voting rights to 20.2%. The move was seen as a hostile takeover attempt by MOL’s management, which quickly started amassing treasury shares and placing them with partners. (MTI-Econews)