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Hungary's MOL Buys Tus Oil (II)

Celje, 13 May (STA) - Tus Holding has sold Tus Oil, Slovenia's third biggest service stations operator, to Hungarian energy group MOL, the Celje-based holding announced on Friday, explaining the decision with optimisation and stabilisation of its business.

"While Tus Oil has until now fully met our expectations, the company is at a point where it needs a new dimension which it will be able to achieve with a new owner," Tus Holding said in a statement announcing the sale.

The sale had been anticipated by Slovenia's media as part of a deal that Tus Holding, owned by Slovenia's wealthiest man Mirko Tus, reportedly reached with banks on a moratorium on loans worth EUR 450m earlier this year.

As part of the deal, the banks were reported to have endorsed a restructuring plan running through 2015 that envisages the sale of Tus Oil and real estate in the former Yugoslavia in addition to Tusmobil, the mobile telephony arm.

While making no reference to this in its statement, Tus Holding said that the sale "represents an important milestone for the strategic development and optimisation of operations of Tus Holding".

MOL, whose number of service stations in Slovenia will rise from 18 to 37 with the acquisition, said it was aiming to secure at least 10% of the Slovenian market in the next five years.

As part of the deal, the companies have agreed that MOL will now join Tus's customer loyalty programme, which apart from its fuel retail division, is used by the Tus grocery chain.

The Hungarian oil company, which has been present in Slovenia since 1996, will also acquire all staff of Tus Oil, adding to an international workforce of 32,000.

The sale has been managed by The Blackstone Advisory Partners from London, Tus added in the statement.

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