EC orders Hungary to retrieve EUR 112mn of state aid to oil and gas group MOL.

By bne IntelliNews June 10, 2010
The EC found that local oil and gas group MOL has received a financial advantage through being allowed to pay lower mining royalty fees since the beginning of 2008, EC Commissioner on competition Joaquin Almunia announced. He pointed out that the investigation of the case revealed an agreement between the company and the state on fixed royalty payments for most of MOL's fields in the country till 2020. Fees were increased by law as of the beginning of 2008 while MOL continued to pay unchanged amounts under the old contract. As a result, the EC concluded that the company received an unfair advantage against its competitors, representing illegal state aid. The amount of the state aid was estimated at HUF 30.3bn (EUR 112mn) and was due to be returned by MOL to the state with interest. No comment from MOL or from the government on the EC ruling is available at this stage.

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