MOL Supports Government Decision to Sell Remaining Shares

MOL, the state-owned Hungarian Oil & Gas Company welcomes the government's decision to sell its remaining stake in the oil and gas group and prepare the country's gas market for liberalization. The state currently has a 23.64% stake in MOL and plans to sell 10-13% of its stake by the end of the year, according to finance minister Csaba Laszlo. The state will sell its 24,600,001 MOL shares in two or three steps, to Hungarian and foreign institutional investors in a private placement, and to Hungarian private investors through the stock exchange, Laszlo said.

Zsolt Hernadi, MOL's chairman, said continuing government price caps would still lead the company to incur some losses on gas imports this year. But the new regulatory regime would mean prices more closely reflect costs and "greatly benefit the company". The first stage of the deregulation will mean industrial customers, which make up about 40% of Hungary's gas market, will be free to buy gas from January next year.