Hungarian energy group Mol is wasting no time taking defensive action against the Russians, after Surgutneftegaz bought a 21 per cent stake in the company last month. Mol is cutting its dividend altogether, and changing its statutes to compel shareholders to declare the “ultimate beneficial owner” of their shares, if requested by directors.
Austrian group OMV, which sold the stake to Surgut, was accused by Mol’s chairman of acting as a ‘front’ for Russia.
MOL said in the documents for the April 23 annual meeting of its shareholders (AGM) that according to a planned amendment of its statutes shareholders must declare who the “ultimate beneficial owner” of their shares is before their meetings, if requested by MOL’s board of directors.
“…the current ownership changes and structure justifies running appropriate mechanisms against a stealth takeover of the company and to ensure that the directors get a realistic picture about who the company’s real owners are,” MOL said.
Other proposed amendments would strengthen the special voting rights of the “B” series MOL share and delete the section which says that the special rights exist only if the share is held by the Hungarian state.
As an FT editorial pointed out, Hungary supports both the Nabucco gas pipeline plan and the rival Russian Southstream project. Nabucco will be a difficult enough undertaking without further friction between EU members.