The Croatian oil company INA said on Tuesday that its bid for the purchase of a 33% interest in the Sarajevo-based Energopetrol oil company had been accepted by one shareholder.

The offer refers to Energopetrol shares that are still not in the possession of INA and its affiliates, namely to 1,812,664 shares or 33% of Energopetrol's stock, for which a price of 2.3 convertible marks per share (EUR 1.18) was offered.

INA, which holds a 67% stake in Energopetrol, announced its plan for the takeover on September 5. The remaining Energopetrol shares are held by the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina entity, which holds a 22.12% stake, and small shareholders (10.88%).

The shareholder who accepted INA's bid sold the Croatian company 63 shares, which accounts for 0.0011% of total voting shares in Energopetrol. Before this transaction, INA held 3,680,258 shares in Energopetrol and now it holds 3,680,321 shares or a 67.0012% stake in Energopetrol. 

The INA-MOL consortium in 2006 bought from the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina government a majority, 67% stake in Energopetrol, with each partner holding a 33.5% interest.

The INA-MOL consortium paid 36 million euros for the acquisition, of which EUR 30.79 million was paid to recapitalise Energopetrol and the rest was paid to the Federation government for the takeover of the majority interest in the company.

In July this year INA and MOL signed a contract whereby INA took over the 33.5% of Energopetrol's shares owned by MOL, thus increasing its stake to 67% and becoming the company's majority owner.

Relations between the INA-MOL consortium and the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina are burdened by a problem that arose from a 2013 decision of the consortium to launch arbitration proceedings against the government of that Bosniak-Croat entity before an international commercial court in Paris. The dispute arose after Energopetrol workers sued the company for not paying their salaries and other benefits from the period before the company was sold. The claims amounted to EUR 32.7 million and INA-MOL insisted that the debt should be settled by Energopetrol's previous majority owner, the entity government.

In June this year a settlement was reportedly reached under which INA and MOL were to give up on the arbitration proceedings. In early September it was announced that Sarajevo prosecutorial authorities were investigating former INA CEO Tomislav Dragicevic and former MOL CEO Zsolt Hernadi over suspicions regarding the lawfulness of Energopetrol's privatisation.

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