September 5, 2018 / 1:53 PM / 14 days ago

BP concerned over planned merger of Poland's two biggest refineries

LONDON/WARSAW (Reuters) - The planned merger of Poland’s two largest refiners PKN Orlen (PKN.WA) and Grupa Lotos (LTSP.WA) could restrict competition in the east European country, BP (BP.L) said in a statement on Wednesday.

FILE PHOTO: The logo of BP is on display at a petrol station in Moscow, Russia, July 4, 2016. REUTERS/Sergei Karpukhi/File Photo

Poland’s biggest oil refiner PKN Orlen said in February it planned to buy at least a 53 percent stake in Lotos, mostly from the state.

London-based oil and gas group BP has not filed any official complaint with Polish or European Union authorities but will consider its options in the future, a company spokeswoman said.

“If this merger were to go ahead, 95 percent of the (country’s supply and infrastructure) market would be controlled by two companies,” the BP statement said.

“We believe that a competitive market is in the best interest of Polish consumers and that this merger could restrict that competition unless there is a guaranteed competitive cost of supply and infrastructure access.”

In the first half of 2018, PKN Orlen owned 1,771 petrol stations in Poland, BP had 537 stations and Lotos 484, according to data from POPiHN, a Polish organisation that provides research into local fuel market.

“We are in a dialogue with the European Commission. According to our analyses, the transaction will not threaten the competition,” a PKN Orlen spokeswoman said.

PKN plans to ask the European Commission later this year for anti-monopoly approval of the deal.

Reporting by Ron Bousso; Aditional reporting by Agnieszka Barteczko in Warsaw; Editing by Mark Potter

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