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MOL writes out tender for bio-diesel components

26.1.2006 10:12
Autor: KBC/Patria

MOL has invited bids to supply the company with bio-diesel components or vegetable oil to produce bio-diesel, which the EU requires the company to mix into fuel. Contracts will be for deliveries between 2008 and 2014. MOL expects to purchase 150 kilotonnes of bio-diesel components a year, as EU rules require members to replace 5.75% of fossil fuel consumption with bio-fuel by 2010.

The company told us yesterday that bio-fuel is still not a central element of MOL’s downstream strategy, and that they feel the contribution of bio-fuel to fuel sales will be limited, even in the longer term. While bio-diesel components (mostly cold pressured reps and sunflower oils) can be mixed directly into diesel fuel, Hungary’s bio-gasoline strategy is still unclear. MOL has attempted to push the government towards not allowing ethanol to be added directly to gasoline, arguing that this could easily lead to a loss of control over excise tax revenues. However, MOL says that ethanol could be converted to ETBE (ethyl-terc-buthyl-ether), an additive which could enhance the octane number of gasoline. Since the conversion would be made by MOL, and MOL would mix it into the gasoline (as in the case of bio-diesel), the government could retain control over gasoline volume sold and thus excise tax paid. More importantly for MOL, the company could become a monopolistic-type buyer of bio-ethanol, and thus reap a significant profit on the bio-fuel business. The government's decision regarding the regulation of bio-fuels is due later this year.

MOL also told us that it plans to invest HUF 8bn (some EUR 32m) to build an ETBE plant in Tiszaújváros. The new factory would go on stream early next year, since excise tax for gasoline with below 4.4% bio component would be increased from July 2007.

The tender on bio-diesel components is neutral for MOL’s share price, while the later government decision on the bio-fuel regulation has strategic importance. We maintain our hold recommendation on the stock and our target price of HUF 22,650.

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