Unipetrol completes buyout of Shell stake in Czech unit

PRAGUE Fri Jan 31, 2014 12:36pm EST

The Shell logo is seen on a pump at a Shell petrol station in London January 30, 2014. REUTERS/Suzanne Plunkett

The Shell logo is seen on a pump at a Shell petrol station in London January 30, 2014.

Credit: Reuters/Suzanne Plunkett

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PRAGUE (Reuters) - Czech oil firm Unipetrol (UNPE.PR) has completed the buyout of Royal Dutch Shell's (RDSa.L) minority stake in its refining unit Ceska Rafinerska, in the latest move to reshape an industry hit by low margins and unstable prices.

Unipetrol said on Friday it had raised its stake in Ceska Rafinerska to 67.6 percent after paying $27.2 million for Shell's 16.4 percent holding. The companies agreed on the transaction in November last year.

Under the deal, the Czech downstream oil group also will supply Shell Czech Republic with fuel worth up to around 44 billion crowns ($2.15 billion) for a period of up to five years, Unipetrol said. Shell will be able to start gradually decreasing its off-take as of 2015.

Unipetrol, majority-owned by Poland's PKN Orlen PKN.WA,

last week recorded a fifth straight quarterly loss, at 690 million crowns for the fourth quarter of 2013, due to low refining margins and weak sales.

After completion of the Ceska Rafinerska ownership reshuffle, Italy's Eni (ENI.MI) remains the only other shareholder.

(Reporting by Robert Muller; editing by Jane Baird)

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