Hungarian oil and gas major MOL Group has announced it will buy Bohemia Realty and PAP Oil, two companies that own and operate 124 filling stations under Pap Oil brand in the Czech Republic (with a 4% retail market share) for an undisclosed price.
Slow demand for petrol and oil product sales and a surplus of refining capacity in Central Europe and the EU are raising questions about the long-term viability of the Czech oil refining sector. In the shorter term, Polish-owned Unipetrol, which controls three Czech refineries, is considering closing the smallest, Paramo, Lidové noviny reported, citing anonymous industry sources.
Instead of forming a long-term strategy for developing key state-owned oil infrastructure and distribution firms Mero and Čepro, the Czech government will allow buyouts by foreign firms; the so-called advisory council of economic ministers has approved a ‘Proposal for Company Strategy of Čepro’ and plans to hold a tender for a consultancy to advise on M&A for the strategic firm.
Prime Minister Petr Nečas’ (Civic Democrats, ODS) government may be uncertain what direction to take the Czech state-owned oil pipeline operator Mero and oil products storage company and processor Čepro — both of which are strategic and highly profitable energy-sector assets — but foreign refiners MOL (Hungary), Lukoil (Russia) and PKN Orlen (Poland) are keenly aware of the benefits of integration.
Lawyer Vladimír Bartoš and his client, convicted gunman Dušan Pintye, are demanding that state fuel distributor Čepro repay a Kč 254 million claim. Bartoš, who in August 2009 acquired Kč 127 million of Pintye’s claim, launched insolvency proceedings and presented a bankruptcy petition against the company. According to Čepro general director Jiří Borovec, the claim is based on false assertions. As expected, the court has rejected the Kč 127 million claim.