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Oman Oil boosts stake in Hungary group

Budapest, December 21, 2008

Oman Oil Company (OOC) has raised its stake in Hungarian oil and gas group MOL to 15.4 per cent from 8.4pc in a move that will boost the latter's defence against a possible hostile takeover.

'This is part of MOL's efforts to have an (ownership) structure which can ensure the independence of the company in the long term,' said KBC Securities regional oil and gas sector analyst Peter Tordai.

MOL said that Oman Oil had increased its shareholding in the group to 16,090,334 million shares from 8,774,040m on December 18.

MOL shares closed at 10,545 forints per share on December 18 which would value the deal at over 77 billion forints ($406.4m).

MOL announced earlier that it would sell 8.77m of its treasury shares to government-owned OOC in a move which analysts said was aimed to help MOL fight off a hostile takeover approach by Austrian oil group OMV and give it new access to upstream investment.

This transaction for OOC's initial 8.4pc stake has still not been closed as Oman Oil was expected to pay for most of this stake with assets and this has not happened.

Prior to the announcement, MOL shares surged on the Budapest bourse this week on market talk that an unnamed Middle East investor would acquire a stake of up to 7pc in MOL via a bookbuilding process.

'So, an investor close to MOL boosted its stake to 15.4pc in the company, with which the voting rights of those standing close to MOL increased,' said Erste Bank analyst Jozsef Miro.

KBC Securities' Tordai said MOL was likely aiming for a stable partnership with Oman Oil in which it can rely on its votes in certain decisions, while Oman Oil may gain some say in strategic issues. MOL boosted direct and indirect control over its own stock in the past one and a half years to over 40pc, in response to the unsolicited takeover bid by OMV.

MOL protected itself through gaining control over its shares through options, treasury shares and allies, including Czech utility CEZ, which took an over 7pc stake, and Hungarian bank OTP, where it parked around 8pc.




Tags: Oil | gas | Hungary | MOL | Oman Oil Company |

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