Austria's OMV sells stake in Hungarian oil and gas group MOL

Austria's OMV sells stake in Hungarian oil and gas group MOL Vienna  - Austria's leading oil and gas group OMV AG announced Monday it has ended its involvement with Hungarian counterpart MOL plc by selling its 21.2-per-cent stake to the Russian company Surgutneftegas OJSC.

The shares were sold for 1.4 billion euros (1.86 billion dollars), OMV said in a statement, calling the deal a "logical step" after the company ended its unsuccessful bid to take over MOL last August.

"Acquisition of MOL shares will establish a firm foothold to start long-term beneficial cooperation and will promote energy security in Europe," Surgutneftegas chief executive Vladimir Bodganov said in a statement.

OMV had tried to gain control over MOL, increasing its stake from some 10 per cent to more than 20 per cent by September 2007.

But it gave up on the plan amid strong opposition from the Hungarian oil and gas group and the European Commission's concerns about a concentration of refining capacities.

MOL made a profit of 779 million dollars in 2008, 36 per cent more than in the previous year.

Surgutneftegas, one of Russia's largest gas and oil production companies, reported a profit of 120 billion rubles (3.57 billion dollars) in the first three quarters of 2008. In 2007, the Siberia-based group's profit was 88.6 billion rubles. (dpa)

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