Energy 23 April, 2018 10:00 am   
Editorial staff

Unipetrol takeover under the microscope of the services?

Piotr Nisztor’s broadcast in the Polish Radio 24 allowed the public to get acquainted with some interesting facts about the purchase of shares in the Czech Unipetrol. Did Andrzej Szczęśniak advise PKN Orlen? Does ABW investigate the takeover of Unipetrol by the largest company in Poland for PLN 3,5 billion? – wonders Wojciech Jakóbik, editor-in-chief of

Sienkiewicz advises

– PKN Orlen had information about the situation in the Czech Republic – said the former PKN Orlen vice president Jacek Strzelczyk on the radio station Polish Radio 24. – We had a good intelligence – he said. He admitted that the former president of the Center for Eastern Studies, Bartłomiej Sienkiewicz, played a key role in discussions with the Czech Republic on the acquisition of Unipetrol. His private intelligence company provided services to PKN Orlen.

– He published a number of analyzes on the Czech market – Strzelczyk said. Sienkiewicz became the minister of internal affairs and the coordinator of special services in the government of Donald Tusk. According to Andrzej Szczęśniak, who took part in the discussion, Sienkiewicz was in the past in the special services.

Meanwhile, according to Strzelczyk, the transaction was an element of competition for Czech refineries. According to him, the activities of PKN Orlen are analogous to the behavior of other companies in the oil industry, such as Italian ENI, which are gaining step by step further bridgeheads on the market. According to the former vice-president of Orlen, the Unipetrol activities are analogous to the actions of one of its main competitors, namely the Hungarian MOL, which implements acquisitions from the Slovak Slovnaft.

Szczęśniak advises against it

The discussion participants also discussed the dismissal of PKN Orlen’s vice-president Mirosław Kochalski. He was to decide to buy additional Unipetrol shares for PLN 3,5 billion. – I knew about the dismissal of Kochalski already in November 2017, and even I was asked to look for candidates for his place – said Andrzej Szczęśniak, an energy market expert known for his criticism of Polish energy policy and support for cooperation with Gazprom.

He criticized the purchase of Unipetrol shares “on the hill”. – It is not natural. It should be examined by the services – he said. In his opinion, the involvement in the Czech Republic may prove to be a failure, an example of which could be the fate of the Mazeikai refinery in Lithuania. – Orlen showed in Lithuania that it is too weak as a company, and the Polish state is too weak to defend its interests there. This is a shot in the knee – said the expert despite the fact that PKN Orlen intends to invest in the facility thanks to a new opening in relations with Lithuania. In the opinion of the radio interviewer, PKN Orlen should rather allow Unipetrol to enter the investors designated by the Czech state. Investors from the Czech Republic and China were interested in the shares, including a minority shareholder J&T, whose doubtful connections were described by

– All indications are that the Internal Security Agency is conducting activities – said the host of the broadcast Piotr Nisztor on the transaction, citing its sources. I would like to add that the information from the Polish Radio 24 studio can also be important for the ABW. Certainly, we will hear about the Unipetrol case more than once.