January 17, 2018 / 9:37 AM / a year ago

Croatia says at least seven firms want INA buyback role

ZAGREB, Jan 17 (Reuters) - Croatia has received seven offers from potential advisers to help the government find the best way to buy back shares of energy firm INA, whose ownership is shared with Hungary’s MOL, Finance Minister Zdravko Maric said on Wednesday.

INA is 45 percent owned by Croatia and 49 percent owned by MOL and the two sides have been at odds for years over management rights and investment policy at the Croatian oil company.

Croatia said in late 2016 that it had decided to buy back INA shares and Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orban confirmed that MOL was ready to sell.

Croatia initially sent an invitation to 18 potential advisers. The deadline for submitting the bids expired on Jan. 15.

“We received seven bids. We may decide to extend the deadline a bit, so eventually we can expect around ten offers,” Maric said in an interview for the state radio.

One of the most important roles for the adviser will be to determine the value of any transaction.

INA has a market capitalisation of about 33 billion kuna ($5.44 billion) but analysts have said the small free float of the company is likely to impact its value.

“Once all the bids are on the table we will certainly need several weeks to assess them,” Maric said.

$1 = 6.0616 kuna Reporting by Igor Ilic; Editing by Elaine Hardcastle

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