Regulator: Poland Should Consider Nationalizing Top Gas Group
WARSAW, June 23 (Reuters) – Poland should consider nationalising and delisting its top gas group PGNiG from the Warsaw bourse to safeguard the country's energy supply, the energy regulator said.
The state already holds 72.4 percent of PGNiG. Nationalization would mean that Poland would buy back the company's shares from private shareholders, mainly pension funds.
"Maybe there should be a redemption of shares and a removal from the stock market?" the energy watchdog's newly-appointed head Maciej Bando told daily Rzeczpospolita in an interview published on Monday.
PGNiG, listed since 2005, has little room to adjust gas prices in line with demand as they are fixed by the regulator. Three quarters of the gas it sells is imported from Russia under long-term contracts with Gazprom.
PGNiG's statute says the company, valued at $10 billion, should act to preserve Poland's energy security, while at the same time it has to make a profit as a publicly listed company.
It is under pressure to help reduce Poland's energy reliance on its former Soviet master by seeking alternative oil and gas deposits abroad, and investing in Polish shale gas exploration.
(Reporting by Marcin Goclowski, editing by Louise Heavens)
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