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Czech SEC approves PKN buyout offer for Unipetrol
Fri Aug 26, 2005 04:29 PM ET

PRAGUE, Aug 26 (Reuters) - Polish refiner PKN Orlen received approval on Friday for a proposed mandatory buyout offer to minority shareholders of Czech oil group Unipetrol, avoiding a battle over the company.

The Czech Securities Commission (SEC) late on Friday approved PKN's third attempt to set a price it is obliged to offer minority shareholders in Unipetrol. The price is 139 crowns per share, well above the 103 crowns first offered, but still well below Friday's closing price of 194.3 on the Prague stock exchange.

"The new higher price is a result of additional remarks from the Czech Securities Commission referring to the methodology used in the share valuation report," the Polish company said.

The latest offer values the remaining 37 percent stake PKN does not own at $390 million. PKN took a controlling interest in May after the government chose its 13.05 billion crown ($541.9 million) bid for a 63 percent stake in the company.

PKN lost its voting rights in Unipetrol after failing to launch the mandatory buyout offer to minority shareholders by a June 25 deadline.

One of Unipetrol's smaller shareholders has called an extraordinary general meeting for Sept. 6 and proposed changes to the company's statutes limiting PKN's ability to sell some Unipetrol assets.

The buyout offer is expected soon and should allow the Polish company to complete the takeover of Unipetrol, which was agreed last year.

PKN plans to restructure the indebted Czech group, which is involved in crude oil refining, chemical production and fuel distribution.

PKN originally planned to sell some of Unipetrol's assets to ConocoPhillips and Czech company Agrofert -- its partners during the privatisation -- but recently said it might pull out of the deals. For central European company news, double click on [.CEE] E.Europe hot stocks [HOT-EEU] E.European news [TOP/EAST] Related stories on [HU] [PL] [CZ] [EEU-STX] [EEU-RES] [EEU-E] For real-time index quotes, double click in brackets: Warsaw WIG20 Budapest BUX Prague PX50

Source: Reuters

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