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Bosnia backs sale of Energopetrol to MOL-INA consortium

14.7.2006 10:39
Autor: KBC/Patria

Bosnian government approved yesterday the selling of 67% stake in the country’s largest fuel retailer Energopetrol to a consortium of MOL and INA. The decision was helped by the move of HVB Bank, which blocked the accounts of heavily indebted Energopetrol last week, but it said that it would stop the foreclosure if a privatization deal were reached. According to the agreement the consortium will pay some US$ 6.7 million for the majority stake and US$ 38 million for debt service. MOL also pledged some US$ 95 million in investment, which would not affect the company's ownership structure. The agreement will now have to be adopted by Energopetrol's supervisory board and shareholders' assembly and then signed by Federation Prime Minister Ahmet Hadzipasic, the government said in a statement, without mentioning possible dates.

Our view:
Energopetrol has 66 service stations, so MOL valued a station at US$ 1.0m (debt takeover included, adjusted to 67% shareholding). In our view, this the maximum what it could pay for the heavily depreciated assets from pure financial point of view. Strategic aspects, however, make us to say it was a good deal. Energopetrol has quasi monopoly position in the country due to the geographic location of its stations. Relatively underdeveloped services of the network creates a lots of upside for efficiency improvement. Moreover, INA has over 50% stake on the fuel wholesale market in Bosnia, which would further strengthen the position of MOL group. Despite the moderate size of the deal, we tend to consider the news as slightly positive for MOL.

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