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English Section

Previous Polish gov’t considered selling refiner Lotos to Russian firms: report

16.05.2022 12:30
Poland’s previous government, led by Donald Tusk and his liberal Civic Platform (PO) party, allowed two Russian-controlled companies to bid for the takeover of the state-run refiner Lotos more than a decade ago, a website has reported.
Polands previous liberal government allowed two Russian-controlled companies to bid for the takeover of the state-run refiner Lotos more than a decade ago, according to a report.
Poland’s previous liberal government allowed two Russian-controlled companies to bid for the takeover of the state-run refiner Lotos more than a decade ago, according to a report.PAP/Marcin Gadomski

The country's former ruling elite made the decision after securing a second term in office in October 2011, the rmf24.pl website reported on Monday.

MOL, TNK-BP, Mercuria-Energy

The website cited "newly declassified documents," which it said showed that the government at the time had invited bids for Lotos from Hungary’s MOL; Russia’s TNK-BP; and Mercuria-Energy, a company registered in the Netherlands, but with Russian shareholders.

TNK-BP has since been acquired by a fellow Russian energy company, the giant Rosneft, according to rmf24.pl.

'Plans to sell Lotos to the Russians'

“The document proves that Donald Tusk’s government had real plans to sell Lotos to the Russians,” said Maciej Małecki, a deputy minister at the Polish Ministry of State Assets, which declassified the 2011 files last week, rmf24.pl said.

Daniel Obajtek, CEO of Poland’s fuel giant PKN Orlen, commented, as cited by the website: “This document confirms what we’ve said all along: Donald Tusk’s Cabinet was preparing to sell the Gdańsk refinery to Russian companies, among other suitors."

'Final offers weren't submitted': ex-gov't minister

Poland’s then-Treasury Minister Aleksander Grad told rmf24.pl that the government wanted buyers to “invest billions” in Lotos’ processing capacity and new technology, and to keep the refinery independent. 

“Final offers weren't submitted because we clearly outlined the interests of the company and the country, and the importance of Poland’s energy security,” Grad said, as quoted by rmf24.pl, adding that "the bidders weren’t aligned with these interests."

Sale plans 'dropped due to pressure from the public’: exec

According to Obajtek, plans to sell Lotos were dropped due to pressure from the public, rmf24.pl reported. 

He questioned why the government "chose these three potential buyers," rather than “negotiate with many companies, send queries to strategic players,” rmf24.pl reported.

'These people were acting against Poland’s national interests'

Obajtek, who is now overseeing the merger of PKN Orlen with Lotos, told rmf.pl that if Lotos had been sold to Russian firms in 2011, "we would have massive problems.” 

He went on to say: “The owners of some of those companies are on the sanctions list, there would have been no diversification of supplies … it would have been disadvantageous for the Polish economy,” according to rmf.pl.

“These people were acting against Poland’s national interests,” Obajtek said, adding that “PKN Orlen’s merger with Lotos … finally derails plans to hand control of the entire Gdańsk refinery into foreign hands," rmf.pl reported.

(pm/gs)

Source: rmf24.plmoney.pl