ZAGREB, Sept 27 Croatia has renewed its pressure
to gain a greater say in the running of its largest company, oil
and gas group INA, saying its controlling Hungarian
shareholder risked conflict with the Balkan country if it
ignores government interests.
Finance Minister Slavko Linic told reporters on Thursday it
was true Hungary's MOL, owner of 49.1 percent of INA,
could run the company without government input, but it would
mean a "war with the Croatian state".
MOL was not available for immediate comment.
Relations between Zagreb and MOL have been strained for
almost two years since MOL failed to become INA's majority owner
in a public bid. Zagreb retains 44.84 percent of the company.
Croatia last September indicted its former Prime Minister
Ivo Sanader for allegedly taking a bribe from MOL in 2008 in
exchange for securing MOL's dominant position in INA. Both
Sanader and MOL have denied the charges.
Croatia complains that its members on INA's management board
have been sidelined from running the company and that MOL was
not investing enough into INA, notably in the modernisation of
MOL has denied both claims, saying its management structure
was in line with local laws while its investments were often
slowed by bureaucratic procedures in Croatia.
Linic said the status quo at INA was not acceptable.
"We want to change the shareholders agreement and bring it
in line with the local legislation. We will not accept the
current relations within INA," Linic said, adding: "I'm still
confident we can sort out all the problems, including the
Deputy Prime Minister Radimir Cacic told Reuters in an
interview Croatia was unhappy because "the management rights (in
INA) do not correspond to ownership rights".
"That is something we need to resolve, but not in a way that
could threaten INA's results. We want INA to be successful and
this is happening. INA will end this year with a profit again,"
MOL said this week INA's management structure was organised
so as to make the decision-making process as efficient as
possible and that the management board convened whenever
necessary, contrary to complaints from its Croatian members.
(Reporting by Igor Ilic; Editing by Zoran Radosavljevic and