Hungary's govt will not interfere with MOL - Raiffeisen Centrobank

01 June 2011 18:01  [Source: ICIS news]

LONDON (ICIS)--Raiffeisen Centrobank is optimistic there will be no undue state interference in oil, gas and petrochemicals group MOL despite the Hungarian government buying a 21.2% stake in the enterprise, the bank said on Wednesday.

Citing energy security concerns, Hungary paid €1.88bn ($2.72bn) on 24 May to buy a 21.2% stake in MOL from Russia's Surgutneftegas.

“There could be a risk that MOL would be forced to purchase or sell assets in Hungary according to government wishes... there are downside risks related to the state presence but we do not think they are any higher than the upside risks or pose any more of a threat than did Surgutneftegas' presence,” Raiffeisen said in an analysis of the new ownership situation.

The Hungarian government's shareholding in MOL actually amounted to 24.8% when holdings of state-owned entities such as pension funds were taken into account, Raiffeisen added.

However, all MOL shareholders were subject to a 10% voting limit whatever their shareholding, Raiffeisen said. This limit can only be overturned with a 75% majority vote.

The bank observed that there were some market fears that the government could push MOL into buying a stake in state electricity company MVM.

“This would be a really negative outcome as we do not see any synergies,” Raiffeisen said.

($1 = €0.69)

By: Will Conroy
+44 20 8652 3214

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