EC approves Polish oil and gas firm's takeover of rival group

The European Commission (EC) has given the final green light to the takeover by Poland's dominant oil and gas company, PKN Orlen, of its rival the Lotos Group.

The announcement was made by PKN Orlen. Having approved the contracts agreed upon with the buyers, the EC has approved the takeover, PKN Orlen wrote in a statement.

"PKN Orlen plans to take over the Lotos Group either in late July or early August," PKN Orlen CEO Daniel Obajtk (pictured) said.

The contracts should come into effect within six months of their approval by the EC.

On June 2, PKN Orlen's management board approved a draft plan to merge with Lotos.

"Only as one group with diversified revenues, and which is resistant to extremely dynamic changes in the macroeconomic environment, will we be able to effectively respond to challenges and carry Poland through the difficult and demanding, but also necessary, energy transition," Obajtek said at the time.

The takeover of the Lotos Group by Orlen was initiated in February 2018. Orlen then filed a preliminary motion for EU approval of the transaction in November 2018, followed by an official motion in July 2019.

In July 2020, the EC approved the acquisition of the Lotos Group under the condition that certain divestments are carried out. Both Lotos and Orlen are controlled by the Polish state.

As part of the disinvestments required by the EC, Saudi Aramco, a Saudi Arabian oil company, bought a stake in the refining subsidiary of Lotos, while the MOL Group, a Hungarian oil and gas company, purchased 417 petrol stations from Lotos. Meanwhile Orlen bought 144 petrol stations operated by the MOL Group in Hungary and 41 in Slovakia.

PKN Orlen owns one of the two refineries in Poland as well as refineries in Lithuania and Czechia. It is active on the wholesale and retail markets for refined oil products in Poland, Austria, Czechia, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Germany and Slovakia.