The EU's Energy Community Secretariat is seeking information from the Macedonian authorities on the impact that the planned takeover by London-based Balkan Petroleum Holding of local fuel retailer Makpetrol would have on the security of gas and fuel supply in the country.
When the mysterious Balkan Petroleum Holding announced its intention to acquire Macedonia's largest fuel retailer, it raised concerns among the public. The company was set up less than two weeks before the takeover plans were announced, and people associated with it reportedly include a close ally of former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych.
"The letter to the Economy Minister [Driton Kuchi] and copies to the chairman of the Energy Regulatory Commission and the president of the Commission for Competition Protection have been sent on July 20," the Energy Community secretariat confirmed in an emailed statement to bne IntelliNews.
The secretariat also asked whether "Macedonia’s commission for protection of competition would need to be notified, and how the economy ministry and the Energy Regulatory Commission will be involved in the takeover process," the statement said.
“Finally, since Makpetrol, together with the government, controls the company GAMA, a gas transmission system operator, which will need to be unbundled in accordance with the Third Energy Package, the secretariat requested information on the ownership structures of Davolia Holdings, which is the sole shareholder of Balkan Petroleum Holding or respectively its Virgin Islands based owners, Dalia Global Corp and Vollandes Asset Corporation,” it said.
The answers should be sent by August 1 or before a decision on the takeover is taken.
The implementation of the Third Energy Package, which was incorporated into the Energy Community acquis communautaire in October 2011, offers opportunities for market opening and cross-border market integration for the benefit of the industry and energy consumers. In February 2016, the EU Energy Community has criticised Macedonia for its failure to carry out energy sector reforms.
Balkan Petroleum Holding Limited announced its intention to take over Makpetrol, offering a price of MKD25,908 (€421) per share on June 9.
On July 18, media in Skopje reported that Macedonia’s Securities Commission has sought additional documents from Balkan Petroleum Holding, which previously asked the Commission, through its official representative in Macedonia Petar Stojanovski, to approve its takeover intention.
Macedonian broadcaster Telma reported that two companies registered in the British Virgin Islands - Dalia Global Corporation and Vollandes Assets Corporation - are behind Balkan Petroleum Holding. The two firms set up the company Davolia in Cyprus, both with stakes of only €500, and Davolia established Balkan Petroleum Holding 11 days later.
Balkan Petroleum’s director is Vasili Evdokimov, whose name has been mentioned in Panama Papers, according to Faktor.mk.
Makpetrol, part of the MSE blue-chip index, MBI10, dominates the fuel retail market in the country, but has a serious competitor, Russian owned Lukoil, which opened its first filling station in 2006.
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