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Croatia Allows 13% Gas Price Increase in INA Deal, Vecernji Says

Dec. 2 (Bloomberg) -- The Croatian government will allow a 13 percent increase in natural gas prices to distributors as part of a deal in which INA Industrija Nafte d.d., the Croatian refiner controlled by Hungary’s Mol Nyrt, will keep a disputed gas unit, Vecernji reported, citing “informed sources.”

The price of a cubic meter of gas would be increased to 3.11 kuna (55 cents) from 2.83 kuna, according to Vecernji.

The government, which holds 44 percent of INA, under a 2009 contract was obliged to take over by Dec. 1 the trading business of Prirodni plin d.d. The price of gas is regulated by the government, and private customers pay less per cubic meter than the cost of imported gas, making it a money-losing business for the company.

INA’s chairman Zoltan Aldott said in a Bloomberg interview last week that “intense negotiations” with the government are continuing, adding that the company doesn’t want to be a “tool of social policy.”

INA’s spokeswoman today declined to comment, adding the negotiations are still ongoing.

To contact the reporter on this story: Jasmina Kuzmanovic at jkuzmanovic@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: James M. Gomez at jagomez@bloomberg.net

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