The merger of Orlen with Lotos arouses emotions. – I hope that this investigation will answer one basic question – who was behind the idea to merge Orlen with Lotos, or speaking in human terms, to sell part of Lotos – said Łukasz Frątczak, journalist of “Black and white” on TVN24. As he emphasized, he could not imagine that “Daniel Obajtek would not be questioned.”
The merger of Orlen and Grupa Lotos took place in August 2022. MP Agnieszka Pomaska from the Civic Coalition announced on Tuesday that she had received a notification from the District Prosecutor’s Office in Płock that, in connection with this transaction, “an investigation into two cases was initiated by the prosecutor’s decision of January 22, 2024.”
– I hope that this investigation will answer one basic question – who was behind the idea to merge Orlen with Lotos, or speaking in human terms, to sell part of Lotos – said Łukasz Frątczak, a journalist of “Czarno na white”, on TVN24.
As he recalled, “Daniel Obajtek became the president of Orlen in February 2018.” – Two weeks after he came to Orlen, a decision was made and a letter of intent was signed to merge Orlen with Lotos. No one will convince me that after two weeks of dealing with the affairs of a company such as Orlen, Daniel Obajtek He already had such knowledge about how the fuel market works, Orlen, that he decided to take over Lotos – he pointed out.
– Anyway, from the emails that leaked from the inbox Michał Dworczykit appears that Daniel Obajtek wrote to Mateusz Morawiecki complaining about the minister (of energy Krzysztof – ed.) Tchórzewski that he is blocking this merger – he added. – This shows how strong Daniel Obajtek was – said Frątczak.
The TVN24 journalist emphasized that it is not known where the decision on the merger was made and who made it. – Unofficially, it is said that he actually took it Jaroslaw Kaczynskibut I hope that this investigation will determine it not in the journalistic or conjecture sphere, but will show it in black and white – he said.
– I can’t imagine that Daniel Obajtek would not be questioned, considering the direction in which this investigation is being initiated – summed up the journalist of “Czarno na pozna” on TVN24.
In July 2023 Supreme Chamber of Control prepared a report regarding, among others, merger of Orlen with Lotos after inspection by the Ministry of State Assets. “Black and White” journalists Łukasz Frątczak and Dariusz Kubik found the still unpublished document. According to the Supreme Audit Office, Saudi Aramco paid PLN 7.2 billion less for the Lotos part than it was worth.
We asked Orlen to send its position on this matter.
In the statement sent to us, we read that the MP’s “allegations regarding the merger of ORLEN with Grupa Lotos are groundless and mislead public opinion.” “Such statements undermine the credibility not only of the ORLEN Group, but above all of Poland in the eyes of investors and contractors,” we read.
“The merger of ORLEN with Grupa Lotos was a transparent process, supervised and controlled by a number of institutions. All merger transactions were carried out based on legal provisions and under the supervision of Polish and European authorities, as well as relevant services. The terms of the merger were accepted by almost 100 percent . shareholders of both companies. The merger was voted for not only by the State Treasury, but also by financial institutions that saw the merger as an opportunity for the development of both companies and an increase in their value. The entire process was positively assessed by renowned consulting companies with international experience in implementing such transactions, and approved by the European Commission,” say the company’s representatives.
We also sent questions on this matter to the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection. By the time the article was published, we had not received a response.
Orlen on the findings of the Supreme Audit Office
Previously, Orlen referred to the Supreme Audit Office’s findings. The company from Płock said in a statement that the sale of part of Lotos’ assets was carried out in accordance with the market valuation of these assets. Orlen’s press office reported that “the valuation and sale of Lotos’ assets took place on market terms.”
Orlen also assured that as a result of the merger with Lotos, the State Treasury “has not lost its influence on the operations of Polish refineries.” It was added that “70 percent of shares in the company operating the refinery in Gdańsk remained in the hands of Orlen, which has a decisive influence on corporate decisions in the company.”
According to the company, the countermeasures accompanying the merger with Lotos did not pose a risk to Poland’s fuel security. It was emphasized that the basis for the merger of Orlen with Grupa Lotos is the agreement with Saudi Aramco, which “effectively secures the interest and ensures Poland’s fuel security.”
In the statement, Orlen also commented on allegations that the joint venture agreement has veto rights. “Each, without exception, joint venture agreement lists matters that can only be decided jointly – it is mainly for this purpose that such agreements are concluded,” we read in the statement. It was also assured that the contract with Saudi Aramco stipulated that the rights of a minority shareholder “may not lead to paralysis of operations or harm to the entity’s profits.”
Main photo source: PAP/Tomasz Gzell