Hungarian Prime Minister Orban Angry at Croatia?

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ZAGREB, November 22, 2018 – Economy Minister Darko Horvat has said that in the coming months a final decision on Croatia’s buyout of Hungarian energy group MOL’s stake in Croatia’s INA can be expected, underscoring that it is more important that the entire process is well done than the fact how much time all that will take. He also commented on claims that Hungarian Prime Minister Orban was angry with Croatia.

When asked by the press on Thursday about the outcome of the process, Horvat declined to speculate. “We are in a very delicate stage of the selection of relevant consultants that can help us in due diligence and in making a final decision on INA’s current value and its value on the market,” he said adding that this part of the process was within the remit of the ministers of finance and energy.

Earlier on Thursday, Energy Minister Tomislav Ćorić also commented on scenarios for Croatia’s buyout of MOL’s stake in INA, and said that he expected a decision in the months ahead. After a reporter remarked that the government was taking too long to decide, Ćorić said such a job should be done properly. “It’s much better to work longer and for the analysis to be good than to do it in a short time and have a lacking analysis,” he said.

In January 2017, the government set up a council for negotiations with MOL on a possible buyout of its stake in INA. This past April, the government chose a consortium comprising Morgan Stanley, Intesa Sanpaolo Group and Privredna Banka Zagreb as its investment consultants in the possible buyout and subsequent sale to a new strategic partner for INA. However, a contract with these consultants has not yet been signed.

Also on Thursday, Horvat and Ćorić commented on Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s alleged anger at Croatia over the reactivation of an arrest warrant for MOL CEO Zsolt Hernadi.

Ćorić told reporters “What anger? Only good vibrations, please” and announced that Orban was expected in Croatia on December 3.

Croatian media have carried Hungarian portal’s claim that Orban was “very angry that Croatia betrayed Hungary and didn’t act gentlemanly in the lifting of the blockade on Croatia’s OECD membership bid in exchange for giving up the Hernadi arrest warrant.”

Horvat said he did not see any reason for anger. Furthermore, he did not perceive such feelings in any form of communication with Orban.

The Croatian minister expressed hope that Slovenia would follow Hungary’s suit and remove its objections to Croatia’s OECD membership bid.

For more on the INA-MOL issues, click here.


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