Rosneft Interested in Buying INA

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According to Rosneft’s CEO, INA could get a new strategic partner.

Russian energy company Rosneft is interested in buying shares of the Croatian national oil company INA. The news was announced by Rosneft’s CEO Igor Sechin, reports Jutarnji List on October 28, 2017.

“We are interested in investing in this region, and we are thinking about entering into INA’s ownership structure,” said Sechin.

INA is currently owned by Hungarian oil company MOL and the Croatian government, with each having a bit less than 50 percent of the shares. The rest is owned by other shareholders. However, the government and MOL are continuously arguing over management issues and investment policies. Late last year, Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenković announced that Croatia would try to buy back MOL’s shares in INA, but not much has happened in the meanwhile, except that the government started the process of selecting an adviser for the financial operation.

Sechin promised that, if his company were to enter into INA, it would modernise its facilities. This is at the core of current arguments between the government and MOL since the Hungarian company keeps delaying planned investments in the modernisation efforts and wants to close down one of two Croatia’s refineries.

Prime Minister Andrej Plenković said on Friday evening that, after the refusal of the Swiss Supreme Court to annul the decision of the Arbitration Tribunal in Croatia’s dispute with MOL about INA, the legal path Croatia had at its disposal had been completed.

When asked about the interest shown by Rosneft’s leaders in INA, Plenković said that he had seen the reports about Sechin’s interview, but had not yet read it himself and would do so with interest. “In any case, it is good there is interest in INA, not just by Rosneft, but also by many other potential strategic partners,” said Plenković.

Asked by journalists what should be done in order to manage INA in accordance with the Croatian company law and whether that will be possible only after INA returns to Croatian ownership, he said that the government had decided to start negotiations with MOL and to select an adviser who would help to either restore INA to Croatian ownership or find a new strategic partner. He added that the issue was being analysed by the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Environmental Protection and Energy.


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