Polish regulator okays petroleum, gas firms merger

Leszek Szymański/PAP

PKN Orlen, Poland's biggest oil company, has been given the green light by the country's competition watchdog, UOKiK, to merge with Polish gas monopolist PGNiG.

The consent depends on PKN Orlen getting rid of control over Gas Storage Poland, a PGNiG subsidiary, Orlen said in a Wednesday statement.

"The positive decision by the UOKiK president has been issued under the condition of waiving control over... Gas Storage Poland Sp. z o.o., a PGNiG subsidiary, whose main business is fulfilling the tasks of an operator of the natural gas storage system," Orlen wrote.

The decision also carries an obligation to sign or keep an operator agreement with Gas Storage Poland after waiving control over the company.

PKN Orlen and PGNiG have been given 12 months from the merger to fulfil the condition.

Daniel Obajtek, Orlen's CEO, said the merger "is yet another important step on the way to creating a single strong multi-energy conglomerate that will guarantee energy security not only for Poland, but for the whole region."

Orlen is also merging with its peer Lotos.

"We're acting in line with our previous announcements and we want to complete the Lotos and PGNiG merger process at a similar time because this will allow us to use all the synergies better," Obajtek told PAP.

"We're planning to finalise the Lotos merger in late June or early July," he went on to say. "PGNiG should be in our group by the end of the year."

State Assets Minister Jacek Sasin said the end of the tri-partite merger process was in sight.

"The process will be completed within a few months," Sasin said at a press conference on Wednesday. "I hope that this multi-energy conglomerate will be operational by the end of the year."