Three Companies Submit Bids for Croatia's Ina

OMV, MOL and Rosneft have all submitted bids for the 25-percent stake in Croatian state-owned oil and gas company Ina, Economy Minister Ljubo Jurcic said on Friday. A winner is expected to be chosen in March, however, bid details will not be immediately released. "The bids are binding but not final. There will be further talks with all three bidders, so we cannot reveal financial aspects at this stage," he said.

Advisers PriceWaterhouseCoopers and Deutsche Bank have estimated Ina to be worth between 1.2 billion and 1.8 billion euros. Jurcic said he was pleased with the quality of offers, which contained a financial bid and a business plan for Ina's development and expansion in the region.

Earlier in July three bidders were shortlisted from a list of ten regional companies that did not include any Western oil majors. A fourth bidder, Edison Gas, was removed from the list after a consortium was formed with Hellenic Petroleum, which had not made it to the shortlist.

Philip Wolfe of Deutsche Bank said the privatization advisers would evaluate the bids by the end of this month. "Talks will continue in February and March with a view to signing by end-March," he said.