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PKN Orlen: press speculates Polish government might decide on PKN-Lotos merger before the elections

PKN Orlen: press speculates Polish government might decide on PKN-Lotos merger before the elections

13.9.2007 10:50
Autor: KBC/Patria

PKN (56 PLN, -0,36%) Orlen: press speculates Polish government might decide on PKN-Lotos merger before the elections
Polish press agency PAP reports Prime Minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski as saying that Polish government will decide whether it wants to merge PKN Orlen with Lotos (44 PLN, 3,20%) before the October parliamentary elections.

Our view:
Largest opposition party Civic Platform still opposes the merger due to competition concerns. Such a decision five weeks before the elections would be a pretty unfriendly move, we believe, but we cannot fully rule out this to happen. Recent developments with the CEO of Lotos also point to this direction. Government claims merging the two companies would simply be a defensive move preventing hostile takeover attempts and it would also create a national champion who could be more effective then the individual companies. Although creating a monopoly is against the interest of consumers in general, creating a national champion can be used in the campaign addressing nationalistic voters. Although probably no final decision made yet in the government, the chance of the merger is seemingly increasing. This can support the share price of both companies, especially Lotos, which was sold heavily in the recent weeks. Please also keep in mind that government is interested in the higher relative value of Lotos to PKN, given that its higher stake in the smaller company can finally result in a larger ownership in the joint entity.


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