Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic repeated in the parliament on Tuesday that the government planned to buy back Hungarian oil and gas company MOL's stake in INA, adding that so far he had not heard "of any better or more efficient model (of purchase) that would not include an increase in public debt, than the proposal for an initial public offering of 25% minus one share of the HEP power company."
Plenkovic said this at the beginning of Question Time, when asked by Social Democratic Party (SDP) leader Davor Bernardic to give him "a clear, unambiguous and substantial answer" as to whether the state would buy MOL's interest in INA and how it intended to do it.
"This government has been dealing with the issue of INA from the first day of its term. Following the ruling of the arbitral tribunal in Geneva we want a broad consensus to be reached on the buyout of MOL's stake in INA, I believe that it is good for the national economy, INA and Croatia's energy security and supply. We discussed a model that would be the most appropriate in terms of generating funds for the purchase without increasing public debt. Of all the proposals discussed, not one was better... than the initial public offering of 25% minus one share of HEP. Those familiar with corporate management know that exactly that is the way to help Croatia, as the 100% owner of HEP, to keep, with 75% plus one share, all management rights in HEP without selling national resources," said Plenkovic.
He said this model would also result in higher standards of the company governance.
"This government is open to dialogue with all stakeholders and is willing to hear other proposals as well, but of all the discussed proposals, this one seems to be the most appropriate," said Plenkovic.
Bernardic countered that there had been no public debate on the matter and that the model the government was advocating did not hold water.
HEP, he said, is currently not ready for sale and needs two years to prepare for the initial public offering.
"I fear that the proposal which you keep refusing to share with the public does not hold water and that money from the sale of one quarter of HEP cannot buy half of INA and everyone is aware of that. If you insist that you can do it, then you know something we and the public do not know, and we have the right to suspect that maybe there is yet another secret plan of the HDZ politicians and prime minister that involves the Hungarians, the more so as you have announced a plan to sell INA afterwards to a new strategic partner," said Bernardic.