INA, Zagreb.jpg
Photograph: HINA/ Denis CERIĆ/ ua

Caretaker Economy Minister Tomislav Panenic described on Monday as inappropriate the statement by MOL Group CEO Zsolt Hernadi in which he said that the Hungarian energy company could implement its strategy with or without Croatia's INA, saying that Hernadi was speaking as if MOL was the majority owner of INA, and not just one of the shareholders.

"I'm inviting MOL to talk about INA in the future together with the Croatian government as a company, about investments in INA and INA's cooperation with the MOL Group. Their actions actually mean that they don't need even one of INA's production facilities, that they think that production in Croatia should be discontinued and that the refineries of the MOL Group are enough," Panenic told Hina.

He said Hernadi was talking from MOL's position and that INA "still hasn't been integrated into the MOL Group and can't be because MOL isn't the majority owner of INA and can't consolidate its results." "When they own 50 percent, they can consolidate the business results. In this way, they are doing it inappropriately, degrading INA's value," he added.

Panenic said he would like Hernadi to "come here and explain how he plans to introduce the market model for INA, if he calls the current one planned economy," and why INA had not yet been approached as a vertically integrated company.

Panenic said that contrary to announcements, nothing had been invested in INA and that its distribution network had been markedly reduced. "It would be very interesting if Hernadi came and explained that, and I believe our institutions seeing to the functioning of the rule of law would also have questions."

He said it was easy for Hernadi to talk from Hungary, since he did not share the fate of INA, its workers or Croatia, in whose energy strategy INA was defined as a key energy system.

MOL Group will follow its path with or without the Croatian company INA, Hernadi said in an interview with the leading Hungarian news website Origo.hu after the oil and gas group adopted a long-term business strategy last week.

Last Thursday MOL's Board of Directors adopted the long-term business strategy "MOL Group 2030 – Enter Tomorrow" whereby the company aims to strengthen its position in Central and Eastern Europe, become a leading chemical group in the region and invest about USD 1.5 billion every five years to ensure growth in the petrochemical industry.

Asked if INA was part of the new strategy, Hernadi said: "This strategy is for the future and not for the present or the past. For the time being INA is rather the past and present."

MOL holds a 49% stake in INA, while the Croatian state, as the second biggest stakeholder, has an interest of around 44%.

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