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FNM: Sale of Unipetrol to PKN on Track for Completion in Coming Days

Representatives of the National Property Fund (FNM) and Polish petrochemical giant PKN Orlen are in the final stages of completing the sale of the Czech petrochemical holding Unipetrol, the deputy chairman of the FNM's executive committee, Pavel Kuta, told Interfax Thursday.

According to Kuta, signature of the sale contract is now a question of days rather than weeks.

The FNM orginially announced that the sale contract would be signed on May 26. Kuta now says that date was based on preliminary estimates and was not binding.

PKN Orlen will pay 10% of the total purchase price, or CZK 1.31 bn, on the day the contract is signed, says Kuta. The balance is to be paid upon the transfer of shares to PKN and approval of the deal by the European Commission, he adds.

The Czech government decided to sell its 63% stake in Unipetrol to PKN Orlen for CZK 13.05 bn in late April.

PKN made its bid independently. However, it signed a preliminary agreement with ConocoPhillips in January. At the end of 2003, PKN signed a cooperation agreement with Agrofert, which won a previous tender for Unipetrol, but failed to come up with the EUR 361 mln for the deal in 2002.

The Unipetrol group consists of 100 %-owned subsidiaries Chemopetrol, Kaucuk, and Benzina, and the majority-owned subsidiaries CeRa (51%), Paramo (74%) and Spolana(80%).

(Interfax 28.v.04)

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