Energy 19 March, 2019 10:00 am   

Will Poland convince Germany to the Orlen-Lotos merger?

The Polish-German Economic Forum in Berlin began. This is an opportunity to talk about energy, but also about the great merger of PKN Orlen with Grupa Lotos – Wojciech Jakóbik, editor-in-chief of writes.

In November 201, PKN Orlen submitted a draft of the application for notification of concentration in connection with the planned takeover of capital controls by the Płock company over the Lotos Group to the European Commission. Nothing has changed since then. Our interlocutors in both companies admit that the price for the consent of the European Commission for concentration in the form of merger of Grupa Lotos with PKN Orlen may be the sale of part of the stations. We have already written in about possible consequences, i.e. for example entering the competition, like the Hungarian MOL, on the Polish market.

Poland can gain allies for the merger plan. France and Germany have presented a proposal for a new economic policy of the European Union, which will treat competition principles with greater indulgence. It is supposed to reward the creation of European champions capable of fighting on the global market, for example with competition from China, even at the cost of a drop in competition in the European Union.

– Very important discussions are underway in France, Germany and the European Commission. Today, between Poland and the European Commission, there is a discussion on the merger of two major players from the fuel industry (PKN Orlen and Grupa Lotos – ed.). This is happening on the margins of discussions about the architecture of competition policy in the European Union. The competitiveness conditions created at the end of the 1980s may be inadequate to contemporary realities – said  the minister of enterprise and technology Jadwiga Emilewicz, who will co-host the Forum in Berlin with the Minister of Economy and Energy, Peter Altmaier.

The representative of the Polish government admits that Warsaw can support these proposals, because they fit perfectly into the plan of merging Orlen with Lotos, which could fight not only for Central and Eastern Europe, but more globally thanks to the combined potential, even in the upstream sector. Such a giant, for example in cooperation with PGNiG, would have a different position in the battle for mining licenses in Norway. The support of Germany (and France?) can convince the Commission to support the Polish idea of ​​a merger under better conditions. An opportunity for further discussions on this subject may be the Polish-German Economic Forum, about which we heard for the first time from the German ambassador in Poland in an interview for

Minister Emilewicz, when asked about Poland’s support for the concept of building European champions presented by France and Germany, replied: “We are seriously discussing this topic. Talk about competitiveness on the European market should concern access to markets. Our visit to Berlin will be accompanied by the publication of a report prepared by us for the last few months, in which we identified non-tariff barriers on the German market, through which Polish entrepreneurs can not export or can not set up a business in Germany.

Therefore, the Poles intend to bargain in Berlin for access of Polish companies to the German market. This will help the report of the Center for Eastern Studies and the Jagiellonian Club on the potential of cooperation between Poland and Germany, which will be presented at the Forum. The event is to be cyclical and that is very good, because despite the dispute over Nord Stream 2, in which we do not find a common language, we are doomed to cooperate in the economy. Poland is Germany’s bigger trading partner than even Russia. In addition, Poles do not make such surprises to Germans, such as the launch of Siemens turbines, which instead of in the Russian Federation, found themselves in the occupied Crimea, and on the day of the Polish-German conference officially launched by President Vladimir Putin.

The Ministry of Entrepreneurship and Technology states that the purpose of the meeting is to support the cooperation of the Weimar Triangle for the promotion of solutions for Polish, German and French companies in the field of new technologies, as well as the construction of a European consortium of batteries for electric cars. So there is something to fight for. I keep my fingers crossed for the success of the conference in Berlin.