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State's purchase of MOL stake in line with international practices, says Fellegi

The state's agreement on the acquisition of a 21.2% stake in Hungarian oil and gas company MOL from Russian peer Surgutneftegas was in line with international practices, National Development Minister Tamás Fellegi said at a meeting of the Joint Venture Association on Friday.

The purchase will boost the security of Hungary's energy supply, Fellegi said. The Hungarian government has always supported MOL's strategy and sees no reason not to do so in the future, he added.

The agreement on the acquisition of the state for €1.88 billion was announced on Tuesday.

Fellegi said he too had negotiated with representatives of Surgutneftegas, but only after the actual purchase was on the agenda and the talks turned to price. He called the Surgutneftegas representatives "extraordinarily fair negotiating partners".

Surgutneftegas acquired its stake in MOL from Austrian peer OMV for €1.4 billion in March 2009. MOL's management called the deal unfriendly and Hungary's president and government expressed concern about the transaction.

Surgutneftegas was not been included in MOL's share registry for technical reasons and was unable to exercise its voting rights at shareholder meetings. The company contested the lack of inclusion in court, but rulings were always been in favor of MOL.

MTI earlier learnt that Surgutneftegas was no included in MOL's share registry because of concerns about the transparency of the Russian company's ownership structure.