Less than a year after the Russian offer for the takeover of the MOL stake in INA was opened, Croatia received a new offer from the USA.
About 10 months after Igor Sechin, the CEO of the Russian oil company Rosneft and one of the closest associates of Russian President Vladimir Putin, publicly expressed interest in acquiring the stake of Hungary’s MOL in the Croatian oil company INA, the offer from the USA arrived.
Jutarnji List has the letters sent in early March to Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic by the American company Castleton Commodities International (CCI) expressing official interest in entering a strategic partnership with the government in INA.
The letter signed by one of the company’s chairmen, Fabrizio Zichichi, says that “CCI would take over the role of a strategic investor and partner in INA, supporting the Croatian ministries in a range of key sectors: by securing the financing and as an investment partner, as a commercial partner in contract relations such as the processing of raw oil and oil products, the trade and supply of final products, risk management, running investment projects in all business segments and HR management”.
Although the letter doesn’t specify what stake the American company wants to take in INA, it is important to note that Zichichi is also explicitly offering to help the government finance a potential buyout of MOL’s shares and says that the company has around USD 3.6 billion of secured credit lines, as well as the possibility of a further increase of that amount, considering that it operates and has commercial relations with a total of 25 international banks.
In short, this is a serious and surprisingly concrete offer, which is sure to make the process of search for a new strategic partner in INA, initiated by the government this March with the selection of the consultant, more dynamic.
The geopolitical implications shouldn’t be forgotten either, it is said. Since Rosneft expressed an interest in INA, the diplomatic representatives of the USA in Croatia have not been hiding their opposition to the possibility of having a company in which the Russian state is the majority owner enter the ownership structure of the Croatian national oil company.