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The merger of Orlen and Lotos. Expert: It is completely incomprehensible

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I absolutely do not understand it. We sell a third, I believe a half, of a great refinery. And how can we cooperate here? – said Dawid Czopek, the managing director of Polaris FIZ, on TVN24 BiS, referring to the merger of Orlen and Lotos. The expert assessed the decision as “absurd”. He stressed that “it cannot be said that there are unfounded” rumors that Russia could be behind Saudi Aramco.

When asked what this decision meant for consumers, he replied that “not much at first”. – In some perspective, new petrol stations will appear on the Polish market that are known to customers who visit southern Europe, i.e. MOL stations. Perhaps there will also be greater competition from the entity that enters this market, i.e. Saudi Aramco – he said.

The merger of Orlen and Lotos. “She is completely incomprehensible”

The suppository was also asked to refer to experts’ opinion that Lotos was selling its Saudi Aramco refinery for next to nothing. – Yes, indeed. If we look at how much Saudi Aramco will pay for this part of the refinery, i.e. 30 percent. shares and the right to 50 percent. the most important products, i.e. gasoline and diesel oil, the price of one billion zlotys seems very low. Analysts’ forecasts for the second quarter of this year indicate that the entire Lotos group may earn up to four billion zlotys, most of which will be profit that will come from refineries. From this point of view, it is Saudi Aramco that buys the refinery in Gdańsk for a financial result of several months – he explained.

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He admitted that he is very curious what the sense of this business operation is. – I absolutely do not understand this sense. It makes no sense to me, there is no point in arguing that the Lotus will not survive alone. He generates great cash flow, he is one of the best refineries in the world, some say he is the best in the world, he said. – A very good period before refineries, due to the fact that a significant part of the production or import of fuels in the world came from the former USSR countries, mainly from Russia((..). What you sometimes inform about these record refining margins is a signal of how good it is in the refining business. From my point of view it is a completely incomprehensible merger – he said.

“Nobody forbade them to cooperate”

He added that “companies, Lotos and Orlen, were not forbidden to cooperate”. – Nobody forbade to invest together in wind farms, buy fuel together, make other investments. The connection is completely unnecessary and, from my point of view, harmful, also for our country – he assessed. – From the point of view of the Treasury, today, that is until the merger, the Treasury has two companies that have one hundred percent of refining assets in our country. So they have an impact on what happens to the fuel, they have an impact on decisions at refineries. After Saudi Aramco is admitted, and some say Saudi could be behind the refinery, Saudi will receive a significant package of governance rights, or so it said the European Commission in their remedial measures. This means that decisions and products will have to be shared with someone. I do not understand this point of view as the owner (..) I will emphasize it once again, from my point of view it is an absurd decision – he stressed.

The expert referred to the concerns related to the ties of companies to be admitted to Poland. – Even the former president of the Lotos group says directly that the Russians are behind Saudi Aramco. We know that Saudi Aramco cooperates with Russia, also within OPEC +, the Saudis praise such cooperation. We also know that the Saudis are importing more and more finished products from Russia. Recently, one of the agencies announced a record import of heating fuel to power the energy part in Saudi Arabia. These are, of course, guesses, no one is sure of it here, but when we look at the situation in the world, it cannot be said that they are unjustified – he emphasized.

The merger of Orlen and Lotos is getting closer

Lotos shareholders supported the company’s merger with PKN Orlen during Wednesday’s Extraordinary General Meeting. 98.89 percent was given for the relevant resolution. votes. The resolution of the EGM on the merger with PKN Orlen was 150 784 838 votes, against – 706 659, and 985 494 abstaining votes. According to the resolution, the merger of Grupa Lotos with PKN Orlen is to take place by transferring all assets of the Gdańsk company, all assets and liabilities to PKN Orlen in exchange for the shares that the concern from Płock will spend in accordance with the provisions of the Merger Plan.

President of PKN Orlen Daniel Obajtek and president of Grupa Lotos Zofia Paryła during the signing of an agreement with trade unionsPAP / Szymon Łabiński

Earlier, on January 12 this year, in line with the requirements of the European Commission, PKN Orlen presented the remedial measures planned in connection with the acquisition of Grupa Lotos. It was informed, inter alia, then that Hungarian MOL will take over 417 fuel stations of the Lotos Group network in Poland, while PKN Orlen will buy 144 fuel stations from MOL at Hungary and 41 petrol stations at Slovakia. Unimot will purchase the fuel and asphalt logistics area under Lotos Terminale. Meanwhile, Lotos Biopaliwa will be bought by Rossi Biofuel.

Former economy ministers clearly expressed their objection to such a decision. They appealed to “stop the partitioning procedures of the LOTOS group, advocating keeping it in the current, integrated structure”. “We especially call for the maintenance of the ownership structure of the network of petrol stations that compete with the network of stations of the Orlen group,” we read. Former ministers of industry and trade signed the letterincluding: Tadeusz Syryjczyk, Henryka Bochniarz, Andrzej Lipko and Marek Pol. The signatories of the appeal were also former heads of the Ministry of Economy: Wiesław Kaczmarek, Janusz Steinhoff, Jacek Piechota, Jerzy Hausner, Piotr Woźniak, Waldemar Pawlak and Janusz Piechociński.

Main photo source: Shutterstock

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