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PM indicates government would act to prevent foreign acquisition of OTP

Prime Minister Ferenc Gyurcsány said on a radio program on Tuesday evening that he would be not be pleased to see a strategically important Hungarian company come under the control of another country and that the government would do anything within its power to prevent this from happening.

Russian news agency Interfax reported on Monday morning that Sberbank, the largest bank in Russia, aimed to acquire an eastern European peer with an expansive network and subsidiaries such as OTP Bank and Raiffeisen Bank.

Speaking on Budapest news radio station InfoRadio on Tuesday evening, Gyurcsány commented that he would not like to see any concern take one of Hungary’s leading banks under its control and influence without a clear indication of its business or other intentions. The prime minister added that he would do everything under his power to prevent this situation from occurring.

Gyurcsány said that none of Hungary’s nationally vital companies should come under the influence of another state, noting that this was the problem with MOL too.

Austria’s OMV unsuccessfully attempted to acquire Hungarian oil and natural gas company MOL earlier this year. With regard to OTP, Gyurcsány remarked that it would not be good if a bank controlled by the Russian state were to gain a significant indirect influence over an important Hungarian bank. (MTI-Eco)