March 2. 2024. 2:38

The Daily

Read the World Today

MOL to sell assets to get clearance for Slovenia takeover

Hungarian oil company MOL plans to sell 39 service stations in Slovenia to Shell to receive EU Commission clearance for the takeover of the Slovenian branch of Austrian oil company OMV, the country’s second-largest chain of service stations.

The transaction involves some existing service stations from MOL and OMV, the Hungarian company said Tuesday.

It is “a milestone in the process of securing European Commission clearance for the announced takeover of OMV Slovenija,” it added.

MOL signed a contract worth €301 million to increase its share in OMV Slovenija by 92.25% in 2021 when it already had a 7.75% stake in the company.

The announcement has already raised market concentration concerns as it would create a near duopoly in Slovenia, with Petrol as the leader and MOL as runner-up.

Indeed, according to a preliminary investigation by the Commission, the transaction could severely undermine competition in the retail market.

OMV Slovenija owns 120 service stations and is the country’s second largest gas station operator after Petrol, which operates 318 stations. The owner of 53 gas stations, MOL is currently the third biggest operator.

Shell has one service station in Slovenia and eight automated service stations for lorries. The transaction would make it the third-largest player in the Slovenian retail market.

The acquisition would be “an important step forward for the Shell brand in Slovenia,” the company said in a press release.

Shell entered the Slovenian petrol retail market in 1995 but left just four years later, citing its inability to build a dense enough network of service stations to meet its objectives.

It returned in 2012, but instead of building traditional service stations, it started building a network of automated service stations for lorries.