Croatian Government and MOL to Resume Talks in April over INA Management Rights

Croatian Government and MOL to Resume Talks in April over INA Management Rights

The Croatian government and Hungarian MOL oil company are to resume negotiations in April in a bid to put an end to their long-lasting dispute over Croatian INA oil company. While MOL owns 49.1 percent of INA's shares, the Croatian government owns 44.8 percent of the company's shares. There has long been a conflict between the two shareholders regarding management rights and investment policy, which has in return damaged INA's business and threatened to spoil relations between the two EU member-states.

There have been a few rounds of negotiations since September 2013, with the most recent ending in July 2014. "The talks are now expected to continue in mid-April. We hope this time we will see some progress achieved," cited Reuters the spokesman of the economy ministry Tomislav Cerovec as saying. Although a fresh round of talks was scheduled for March, Cerovec said the two sides needed more time to prepare their arguments.

While Hungary says that the Croatian Government is impeding its ability to invest more into INA and operate it more efficiently, Croatia says that it should have an equal say in INA's management rights. MOL added that Croatian bureaucracy and political agenda are preventing them from doing proper business. MOL has also threatened to sell INA's stake if the matter is not resolved in a timely manner.

"Each side has agreed to engage the facilitator. If MOL accepts our starting position, which includes a new shareholding agreement and a new strategy for INA's development, the dispute could be resolved during this government's mandate," Reuters cited Economy Minister Ivan Vrdoljak as saying.

 

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