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Market watchdog extends suspension on trade of INA shares

Croatian financial market watchdog HANFA has extended a suspension of trade in shares of oil and gas company INA by one week, HANFA said on its website.

HANFA originally suspended trade in INA shares from April 28 until May 6 to give it more time to identify foreign buyers of the shares.

"On March 31 we asked Hungary's MOL to provide us with information regarding their acquisition of INA shares and a possible agreement with other parties in relation to acquisition of INA shares. We have got no response so far and assessed the new suspension was necessary," HANFA said when the suspension started.

MOL owns 47.25% of INA and the Croatian government holds 44.84%.

MOL made a public purchase offer for the 8% of INA shares in free float last December. MOL offered HRK 2,800 per share, the same as the price in a public purchase offer it made in the autumn of 2008. But other market players appeared to outbid MOL, pushing the share price over the offer. MOL raised its stake by just 0.1% in the offer.

MOL has firmly rejected speculation in the Croatian press that it was behind the purchases of INA shares under scrutiny by HANFA.