EU opens antitrust probe into PKN’s bid for Lotos

BRUSSELS: Polish oil refiner PKN Orlen’s bid for rival Lotos may reduce competition in Poland and neighbouring countries and push up prices, EU antitrust regulators said as they opened a full-scale investigation.
State-run PKN wants to buy at least 53 per cent of Lotos, in which the government holds a 53.19 per cent stake. The companies own the only two refineries in Poland and are also present in the Czech Republic, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Slovakia. The European Commission said the deal may lead to higher prices and curb competition, confirming a Reuters report on July 4.
In the wholesale supply of fuels, the combined company would be a quasi-monopoly facing limited competition from imports, the EU antitrust enforcer said.
It said in the retail market, the merged company would be four times bigger than the next rival, while airports would have only one jet fuel supplier. The deal would also eliminate the only competitor to PKN in bitumen supply in the Czech Republic, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Slovakia. The combined company would have a dominant share of the provision of mandatory storage facilities in Poland. — Reuters