Ljubljana, 26 November (STA) - Slovenian energy company Petrol has expressed interest in talks on a possible acquisition of Crobenz, a small fuel retailer belonging to Croatian oil group Ina.
While Petrol spokesman Aleksander Salkic stressed in a press release on Thursday that the move does not involve any commitments, business daily Finance reported that Petrol has written a letter of intent to participate in the call for bids for the acquisition.
Petrol is the second biggest fuel retailer in Croatia, while expansion plans have been mentioned in all strategic documents of the company so far.
According to Finance, the Ina group published the call on 12 November to later extend the deadline for applications by five days, until Wednesday. Sarkic told STA that Petrol expressed its interest in time.
Finance reported that while there is no official information on who else is participating in the procedure, the media are mentioning Russian Lukoil, which entered the Croatian market last year by buying nine Europamil petrol stations.
The sale of Crobenz is a result of Ina's merger with Hungary's Mol. The Croatian Competition Protection Office okayed the merger in June making it conditional on the new company bringing down its market share within nine months. The share currently stands at 55-65%.
Crobenz has 14 petrol stations, while it also rents a liquid fuel storage facility in Zagreb, which is owned by Bosnia's Energoinvest. Media estimates put the value of each station at between EUR 1m and EUR 1.5m.
Following last year's acquisition of a 51% stake in Rijeka-based Europetrol, Petrol has 70 service stations in Croatia, Finance moreover reported.