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Budzanowski Won’t Rule Out Lotos Sale to Polish Buyer, Puls Says

Feb. 7 (Bloomberg) -- Poland’s Treasury doesn’t rule out the sale of a controlling stake in Gdansk-based Grupa Lotos SA, the country’s second-largest oil refiner, to a domestic buyer after failing to interest a foreign investor in the company, Treasury Minister Mikolaj Budzanowski was quoted today as saying in Puls Biznesu newspaper.

PKN Orlen SA, Poland’s biggest refiner, and Polskie Gornictwo Naftowe i Gazownictwo SA, the country’s dominant gas company, can’t be ruled out as potential buyers, Budzanowski said, according to Puls.

“Lotos needs a strategic investor, and given the lack of foreign interest we’re left with the choice of picking a company from the domestic fuels industry,” the newspaper quoted Budzanowski as saying. “While we don’t aim to monopolize the fuels market in Poland, there aren’t many local candidates, so the options for consolidation are limited.”

The government will need to change its strategy for the oil and power sectors in Poland, including lifting a cap on the amount of Lotos shares it can sell, and examine its legal position before modifying plans for disposing of the state’s majority stake in Lotos, Budzanowski said, according to Puls.

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To contact the editor responsible for this story: David McQuaid at dmcquaid1@bloomberg.net

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