November 30, 2018 / 9:43 PM / 13 days ago

Poland's PKN notifies Brussels on plan to take over smaller rival Lotos

A logo of PKN Orlen, Poland's top oil refiner, is pictured at their petrol station in Warsaw, Poland October 7, 2017. Picture taken October 7, 2017. REUTERS/Kacper Pempel

WARSAW (Reuters) - Poland’s biggest oil refiner PKN Orlen (PKN.WA) has notified the European Commission of its plan to take over smaller rival Lotos (LTSP.WA), PKN said late on Friday.

State-run PKN Orlen said in February it plans to buy at least a 53 percent stake in Lotos, mostly from the state.

The notification marks the start of “the most important stage” of the takeover, PKN also said.

The refiner expect Commission approval for the transaction by mid-2019.

In September oil major BP (BP.L) said a merger of the Polish refiners could restrict competition in the country.

At the end of the third quarter of 2018, PKN Orlen owned 1,774 petrol stations in Poland, BP had 542 and Lotos 488, according to data from POPiHN, a Polish organization that provides research on the local fuel market.

Reporting by Agnieszka Barteczko; editing by David Stamp

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