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EU opens investigation into OMV’s planned takeover of MOL

The European Commission announced on Thursday it had launched an in-depth investigation of Austrian oil and gas group OMV’s unsolicited bid to take over Hungarian peer MOL.

The Commission said its initial market investigation found that the proposed acquisition may raise competition concerns in a number of markets. “This takeover would affect several strategically important energy markets”, commented Competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes. “It is therefore crucial that the Commission makes sure that effective competition will be preserved for the benefit of both domestic and industrial consumers.”

The Commission now has 90 working days )until July 22 2008) to take a final decision on whether the concentration would significantly impede effective competition within the Single Market. The proposed acquisition would bring together two strong integrated oil and gas companies active in several Central and Eastern European (CEE) countries, the EC statement said. The Commission has therefore opened an in-depth investigation to assess in detail the potential effects of the proposed transaction on the markets for refined oil products as well as natural gas. The Commission will in particular assess the effects on wholesale and retail competition on refined oil product markets in Central and Eastern Europe that will result from placing the refineries of the two companies under sole control. (MTI-Econews)