Shareholders welcome Monopoly Office ruling
Shareholders at Slovintegra and Slovbena, shareholder firms in Slovakia's largest oil refinery Slovnaft, issued a statement September 22 welcoming the decision of the Slovak Anti-Monopoly Office (PMU) approving the entry of Hungarian oil refinery MOL Rt. into the refinery.
The office, however, gave the approval with the condition that the expansion of MOL and Slovnaft petrol stations in Slovakia be delayed until 2004. Slovnaft will keep the number of its petrol stations in Slovakia at 333. If Slovnaft opens a new petrol station, it has to close or sell another petrol station of the same capacity within 180 days.
MOL announced the concentration of the two firms on April 14, 2000 after it signed an agreement on strategic investment in Slovnaft in late March. Under the agreement, MOL will acquire a 36.2% stake in the Slovak refinery for $262 million, to be paid in a combination of a $150 million increase in Slovnaft's registered capital and a $112 million share purchase. MOL should acquire the stake by the end of the third quarter of 2000.
Two years after the subscription of new shares, MOL will have an option for further shares (50% plus one vote). The two companies' share of the Hungarian retail market is estimated at 36%, at 38% in Slovakia, 3% in Romania, and 2% in the Czech Republic. MOL and Slovnaft will jointly control refinery assets with a total capacity of 330,000 barrels per day.
Schmögnerová awarded coveted Euromoney prize
Finance Minister Brigita Schmögnerová was awarded the prize of Best Finance Minister of 2000 by Euromoney magazine in Prague September 25. She accepted the accolade as a "prize for courage" and "an appreciation not only of myself but also of the entire cabinet and of Slovakia."
She added that she hopes the award acts as a further spur to push through reforms in Slovakia, and that it means Euromoney's representatives have recognised that Slovakia has managed to achieve fiscal stabilisation and put into motion financial restructuring in a short period of time.
Compiled by Ed Holt