29 January 2002 14:33 [Source: ICIS news]
LONDON (CNI)--Hungarian energy group MOL on Tuesday reiterated its commitment to regional expansion in petrochemicals and confirmed plans to sell its loss-making natural gas business.
A spokesman for the company told CNI, however, that MOL's petrochemicals investment plans were not dependent upon the proceeds from natural gas asset disposals.
He said MOL's unsuccessful bid for Czech Republic petrochemical and oil refining group Unipetrol meant it had the financial resources to pursue other petrochemical acquisitions without needing to raise the cash from gas disposals.
MOL chief executive Gyorgy Mosonyi said earlier on Tuesday that despite an expected improvement in the natural gas business this year, disposal of the business remained a strategic goal.
Mosonyi, who was taking to reporters in Budapest, said losses from the natural gas business in 2001 would be just over the Forint117bn (approximately $415m/Euro480m) deficit recorded in 2000. However, he added that conditions in the business had improved and no significant losses were expected for 2002.
In January last year, MOL bought a 36.2% stake in Slovakian oil and petrochemicals producer Slovnaft, whose portfolio includes aromatics, ethylene glycol (EG), solvents, polyethylene (PE) and polypropylene (PP).
MOL's chief strategic officer Zoltan Aldott told CNI at the time that MOL aims to become a significant petrochemicals player in the domestic and regional markets. He said this objective was behind MOL's purchase of shares in TVK, the major Hungarian petrochemicals producer, and the acquisition of Slovnaft.
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