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OMV complains to Bosnia

OMV AG, central Europe's biggest energy company, said it filed a complaint regarding Bosnia's sale of state-owned fuel retailer to a rival oil group, as it sees the transaction would harm competition. OMV sent a letter to Bosnia's asset-sales agency earlier this month claiming its sale of Energopetrol to Hungary's Mol Nyrt and Croatia's INA Industrija Nafte d.d. would hurt competition in the Balkan country's fuel market, OMV spokesman Thomas Huemer said in a telephone interview on Friday. “We regard this is not the best result for competition in the Bosnian market,” Huemer said. Mol and INA would have a “major market penetration” after the acquisition, he added. Oil companies are seeking to expand in the fast-growing energy markets of the Balkans. Bosnia last week signed a preliminary agreement to sell 67% of Energopetrol to Mol and INA for $145 million after more than a year of negotiations. Vienna-based OMV, which offered to buy Energopetrol's most profitable 25 filling stations, dropped out from the bidding last year. OMV is not challenging Bosnia's decision and is not seeking a new bid, Huemer said. OMV would consider making a new offer should Bosnia publish a new bid for Energopetrol, he said. Bosnia has been under pressure by Energopetrol creditors, like Bank Austria Creditanstalt AG, to sell the unprofitable fuel trader and repay its debt. The Balkan country, which chose Mol and INA to start talks on the sale last May, delayed the transaction several times. A preliminary agreement on the sale has yet to be approved by Energopetrol's minority shareholders and Bosnia's competition and capital market authorities. (Bloomberg)