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How the Russian Acron wanted to take over Azoty – BZ WBK brokered the share purchase transaction

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In 2012, Russian billionaire Wiacheslav Moshe Kantor tried to take over Azoty Tarnów. Dom Maklerski BZ WBK acted as an intermediary in the purchase of shares by Kantor’s companies. At that time, the bank was headed by Mateusz Morawiecki.

President on Monday Andrzej Duda announced that he had decided to sign the law on the establishment of the State Commission for the Study of Russian Influences on the Internal Security of the Republic of Poland in 2007-2022, and that he would refer it to the Constitutional Tribunal in a subsequent procedure. The law is criticized by opposition groups, according to which it is unconstitutional and violates the principles of a democratic state ruled by law; have already announced that they will not propose their representatives to this committee.

Government spokesman Piotr Mueller was asked on Tuesday by Konrad Piasecki whether the Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki – if he stood before the commission for examining Russian influence – “he is ready to answer why the bank he runs was an intermediary in the purchase of shares in Azoty Tarnów by Moshe Kantor”, a Russian businessman associated with Vladimir Putin. In response, a politician PIS he demanded that the journalist “boldly put forward this thesis”. – So that I can be sued? – asked the host of “Piasecki’s Conversation”. Mueller replied, “Exactly.” For manipulation.

Will the prime minister appear before the commission? Exchange of views between the government spokesman and Konrad Piasecki. READ MORE >>>

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“Attempted hostile takeover” of Azoty

In 2012, Kantor tried to take over Azoty Tarnów through its companies. The Luxembourg company Norica Holding of the Russian chemical group Acron then called for the sale of 64.8 percent. shares – described “Rzeczpospolita”.

In May 2012, the Russian company offered PLN 36 per share in the tender offer, and in July it raised the price to PLN 45.

The takeover failed – the treasury department convinced PTE (OFE owners) not to respond to the call, and then announced its intention to merge Tarnów with Puławy – explained Onet.

The then head of the Treasury Ministry, Mikołaj Budzanowski, described Acron’s actions as “an attempt at a hostile takeover”, to which he said “firmly no”.

Dom Maklerski BZ WBK, which acted as an intermediary in the call, informed that despite the failure to meet the conditions for the effectiveness of the call, Acron decided to buy all the shares of the Polish company offered to it in the call – described “Rz”. The Russian company had to settle for about 12 percent. shares in Azoty.

Mateusz Morawiecki was the president of BZ WBK in 2007-2015.

The merger of the companies from Tarnów and Puławy was successful at the beginning of 2013 – Grupa Azoty was established – much larger and more expensive, and therefore more difficult to take over.

In May 2013, Grupa Azoty registered a new statute limiting the voting rights of shareholders other than the State Treasury. Other shareholders could have no more than 20 percent. votes at the General Meeting of Shareholders. 33% belonged to the SP and still belongs to it. shares.

Kantor’s shares in Azoty and sanctions

Nevertheless, Kantor, through his companies, still tried to buy shares in Azoty – his share rose to about 20 percent. in 2014.

As you can read on the Grupa Azoty website, “on April 6th 2022, Mr. Kantor was entered on the UK sanctions list, on April 8th 2022 – on the European Union sanctions list, and on April 26th 2022, along with Norica Holding’s subsidiaries S.à.rl with its registered office in Luxembourg, Opansa Enterprises Limited with its registered office in Cyprus and Rainbee Holdings Limited with its registered office in Cyprus, through which it controls a 19.82% stake in Grupa Azoty SA – to the Polish sanctions list.

Former President’s Statement

In April 2013, “Newsweek” reported that the former president Aleksander Kwasniewski together with a group of his associates, he lobbied for the Russian fertilizer producer Acron. Kwasniewski had known Kantor for a long time. According to the government, the transaction could pose a threat to the country’s energy security, described “Newsweek”.

The former president then issued a statementin which he informed that he met Viacheslav Kantor in 2004 in connection with his activity as the President of the European Jewish Congress.

“At the beginning of 2012, Wiaczesław Kantor asked me about the investment climate in Poland, especially in relation to investors from Russia – Acron became interested in information from the Ministry of Treasury of the Republic of Poland about the search for an investor for Polish chemical plants. I could not answer this question competently. taking into account the importance of the transaction, and being aware of Poland’s particular sensitivity to Russian investments, I decided to consult the matter with the appropriate people in the Polish government,” he explained.

Grupa Azoty is Poland’s largest producer of nitrogen and compound fertilizers and chemicals, and one of the largest natural gas buyers.

Main photo source: tvn24

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