Budapest (MTI) – Hungarian oil and gas company MOL on Tuesday said it had requested an extraordinary general meeting of shareholders of Croatian peer INA to vote on a proposal to pay a dividend equivalent to 260 million euros.
MOL’s proposal was published on the website of the Budapest Stock Exchange, without any further details. However, in a statement published on molincroatia.com, the company expanded on the announcement.
“MOL saved INA from bankruptcy, stabilized it financially and turned it into a profitable company with a significant investment potential,” MOL said on the website.
“After the Ministry of Economy’s last decision to revoke the licences for exploration in Sava and North-Western Croatia the shareholders understood that the Ministry is currently not supporting an investment friendly environment in Croatia and therefore the time has come now for all shareholders to realize return of their previous investments,” it added.
MOL holds a little less than 50 percent of INA’s shares, but has management rights in the company. The state of Croatia owns about 45 percent. A perceived lack of investment in the company by MOL and the state’s failure to take over INA’s loss-making gas business, as stipulated in a shareholders agreement, have been sources of tension between the two stakeholders.
Both stakeholders are in arbitration, and MOL CFO Jozsef Simola said days earlier that MOL would consider selling its stake in INA if talks with the government failed.
Croatian economy minister Ivan Vrdoljak, speaking shortly after a meeting of INA’s biggest shareholders, told RTL’s local broadcasting unit that MOL’s announcement had come as a surprise.