30 Nov 2011
Poland has no immediate plan to cut its stake at No.2 refiner Lotos below 50 percent and cede control of the company, although such a scenario cannot be ruled out in the distant future, the treasury ministry said.
Puls Biznesu daily newspaper reported earlier in the month that Poland, which wants to sell 13 percent of its 64 percent holding in the refiner, may sell more shares and give the control to an investor.
“There are no such plans at the moment,” treasury ministry spokesman Maciej Wewior told reporteres.
“All analysis on the issue focuses on the distant future, as it is conceivable the company will go private sometime in the future.”
The ministry has said several times it would be willing to sell a 13 percent stake at the refiner, bringing its holdings to 51 percent, but stressed it would keep control of the company. The sale would be part of Poland’s wider push to bring in at least $8.9bn in privatisation revenues this year to support ailing public finances.
The transaction is planned in the first half of 2010 with the ministry eyeing a partner with experience and know-how in the oil exploration and extraction business, allowing Lotos to have access to oil fields or know-how.
“These plans are unchanged,” Wewior said.
Analysts are sceptical the treasury will decide to cede control of the refiner as it is unlikely to accept discounts necessary to offer the stake to strategic investors.
“First, we do not think that a strategic investor would give such a higher price for this company than financial investors pay now. Maybe Russian oil companies would show interest at these prices, but they are politically not acceptable for Poland,” ING analyst Tamas Pletser wrote in a comment.