Reuters, December 15, 2011
OMV invites Optima for Bosnia, Croatia takeover talks
BANJA LUKA, Bosnia Dec 13 (Reuters) - Bosnia's Optima Group said OMV AG had invited it to start negotiations on a possible takeover of the Austrian oil and gas group's petrol stations in Croatia and Bosnia.
"We have received OMV's proposal. OMV is aware that we are interested in the takeover and I hope we can start the talks as soon as our headquarters in Moscow gives a go-ahead," Optima's spokesman Rade Vidakovic told Reuters.
Optima Group, which operates Bosnia's sole oil refinery Brod, motor oil plant Modrica and the Nestro petrol retail chain, had earlier said that an expansion across the Balkans was one its strategic goals.
The group, owned by Russian firm Neftegazinkor, a unit of state-run Zarubezhneft, has a retail network of 88 petrol stations in Bosnia. It earlier said it plans to invest 200 million euros ($261.74 million) on retail chain expansion by 2015.
OMV said last week it was planning to sell Croatia and Bosnia units and that discussions with interested parties would start in the next few months. It plans to move away from refining and retail and focus on exploration and production.
OMV operates 63 retail units in Croatia and holds a 13 percent market share there, while in Bosnia it runs 13 units and has an 8 percent market share.