PRAGUE, June 24 (Reuters) - Czech downstream oil group Unipetrol has held talks with OMV about buying the Austrian group’s Czech gas station network, weekly magazine Euro reported on Monday.
Unipetrol, majority owned by Poland’s PKN Orlen, is planning to invest up to $1 billion over the next five years to return to profit.
It aims to increase its share of the retail fuel market to 20 percent by 2017 from 14 percent.
In an interview with the Czech magazine, Unipetrol Chief Executive Marek Switajewski said the company was open to acquisitions in the retail market but declined to comment on specific opportunities.
“We are negotiating with gas station owners, but the talks are confidential,” he was quoted as saying. “I cannot say also whether we are talking with large or small players.”
An Unipetrol spokesman declined to say with whom the company was speaking. An OMV spokesman also declined to comment.
Unipetrol posted net losses in 2011 and last year, hit by a downturn in European markets that has squeezed margins for refiners and left the industry with excess capacity. (Reporting by Jason Hovet)