MOL offered Croatia chance to buy its stake in INA: Csanyi
BUDAPEST (Reuters) - Hungarian oil group MOL MOLB.BU had offered the Croatian government the opportunity to buy MOL's stake in peer INA INA.ZA, the deputy chairman of MOL's board, Sandor Csanyi, told business magazine Forbes.
According to a summary of an interview to be published on Thursday, Csanyi, who is also chief executive of OTP Bank, was cited as saying MOL in principle had no desire to sell its stake and was interested in putting INA on a profitable footing.
But if there is no other way, "then we want to be fair, we know that this is a very important company for Croatia, part of the national identity, that's why we offered to the Croatian state to buy it," Csanyi was cited as saying.
"This would meet the interests of both parties," he added.
"If they don't want to or cannot buy our INA stake, then we intend to offer it to a third party," Csanyi also said.
MOL has refused to give up management control of INA, in which it holds a close to 50 percent stake, and has said that selling its stake was an option if it can't secure an agreement that can lead to value creation at INA.
Croatia, which holds close to 45 percent of INA, wants to claw back influence in the company and says MOL exercises undue dominance in the company where it is not a majority owner.
Zagreb sentenced former prime minister Ivo Sanader to 10 years in jail for allegedly receiving a bribe from MOL in 2008, giving it a dominant position in INA. Sanader and MOL deny the accusations.
Croatian Economy Minister Ivan Vrdoljak, who is in charge of talks with MOL on behalf of the government, said on Wednesday that MOL's way of communication with Zagreb, through interviews and media statements, had recently gone "beyond a decent level".
"I have no intention to communicate using media channels. They will probably inform us when they have a concrete offer for us and then we will let the public know what it is all about," Vrdoljak was quoted as saying by state news agency Hina.
(Reporting by Krisztina Than/Sandor Peto in Budapest and Igor Ilic in Zagreb; editing by David Evans)
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