January 24, 2020 / 12:33 PM / 23 days ago

New CEO of Poland's PGNiG open to mergers with state-run energy firms

FILE PHOTO: A car is seen in front of the PGNiG Termika Zeran thermal power station after sunset in Warsaw, Poland June 19, 2019. REUTERS/Kacper Pempel/File Photo

WARSAW (Reuters) - Polish gas company PGNiG (PGN.WA) is open to consolidation with other energy companies, its newly appointed chief executive said on Friday, as the government tries to merge state-run firms to strengthen their market position.

The Polish state is a major shareholder in the energy sector, which is undergoing unprecedented consolidation, with PKN Orlen (PKN.WA) planning to take over refiner Lotos (LTSP.WA) and state utility Energa (ENGP.WA).

Poland’s government plans to merge the country’s two biggest refiners to create a bigger player capable of competing on international markets.

“We want to be treated not just as a firm, but to work for the Polish economy,” said PGNiG CEO Jerzy Kwiecinski, a former finance minister.

“We see the possibility of synergies with other big firms in our market, including PKN and Lotos,” he said.

Kwiecinski said that all scenarios are possible when it comes to cooperation with other state-run firms and takeovers in Poland and abroad cannot be ruled out.

Kwiecinski also said that Poland should completely cut down reliance on Russian gas after 2022 and that the group was intensifying the search for oil and gas deposits outside Poland.

In December PGNiG said it agreed a deal with Ukraine’s ERU Management Services to cooperate on hydrocarbon extraction and exploration in Ukraine.

Reporting by Agnieszka Barteczko, writing by Alan Charlish, editing by Louise Heavens

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