MOL strengthens further against possible takeover
MOL Hungarian Oil and Gas announced on the Budapest Stock Exchange last Thursday that it had transferred 9,379,116 treasury shares to MFB Invest, thus opening the way for the company to buy more of its own shares and further defend against a takeover by
MOL has been strengthening its defences since OMV announced on 25 June that it had spent about EUR 1 billion to increase its stake in MOL from 10% to 18%. OMV then said that it wished to invite MOL to have “an open and constructive dialogue” on strategic cooperation.
However, MOL said that OMV’s advances were not welcome and began to buy back its shares to help shore up its defences. OMV’s increased stake has not been officially confirmed by MOL, which said that the latest audit showed OMV still only had a ten-per-cent stake. However, analysts believe that OMV may have lent out the extra 8.6% as the MOL charter states an individual shareholder cannot exercise more than 10% of the voting rights.
The charter limitation also means that MOL has had to lend out shares in order to buy more. The latest deal gives MFB Invest an 8.6% stake in MOL, while MOL itself only has 1.1% of treasury shares. MOL has also lent 8% of its shares to
Analysts believe that the company has now done enough to protect itself.
“We believe after MOL’s agreement with MFB…MOL management will have secured a strong defensive position against any takeover, with a stake of 23% immediately votable with the management and up to a 31.6% stake callable,” Barbara Jánosi of KBC Securities said in a note.
MOL then last Friday said it had bought another 1,383,410 shares, boosting its influence to over 32%.
The Hungarian government is also looking at ways to prevent a takeover. A takeover could also fall foul of