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Unipetrol to Offer 51 % of CeRa to IOC Consortium

The board of directors of the Czech oil group Unipetrol has approved a preferential offer for the sale of its 51 % stake in the Ceska rafinerska (CeRa) refinery to the IOC consortium (Agip, ConocoPhillips, Shell), which holds remaining 49 %, says Unipetrol spokesman Tomas Zikmund.

The IOC consortium now has 60 days to declare its interest in the stake. Settlement of the ownership of CeRa is one of the conditions of the ongoing Unipetrol privatization.

The offer to the IOC consortium comes as the Czech National Property Fund (FNM) and the Polish oil concern PKN Orlen have established a special account for payment of the first installment of the purchase price of Unipetrol, which the Polish company will buy for CZK 13.05 bn.

In a week, says FNM spokeswoman Petra Krainova, PKN Orlen will deposit CZK 1.3 bn of the purchase price for the 63 % stake.

The sale must still be approved by the European Commission (EC). If the EC has no objections, the transfer of shares and money could take place this autumn, says Krainova.

The Unipetrol group comprises the Benzina fuel retailer, the CeRa refinery, the Kaucuk rubber maker, the Paramo refinery, Chemopetrol, Spolana, Aliachem, Agrobohemie, and Unipetrol Trade.

(Interfax 25.vi.04)

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