According to the prime minister, a quarter of the oil company was sold by the left and he got it back, so he feels entitled to “put it in universities”. The reality is much more nuanced than that.
“I had to go to Moscow in 2010 to get back the 25 percent Mol shares sold by your allies. And now we are putting this in Hungarian universities, where it is in the right place,” Viktor Orbán replied to LMP’s Erzsébet Schmuck question in parliament. The opposition MP, among others, complained that the government had now handed over more than a thousand billion public assets, including more than 400 billion Mol papers at yesterday’s exchange rate, free of charge, irrevocably to foundations close to Fidesz by personalities that could be removed by a two-thirds parliamentary decision. . Viktor Orbán’s justification needs significant clarification. In 2011, the Hungarian government bought 21 percent of Mol for HUF 500 billion from the Russian Surgutnyfegeg gas near the Kremlin. The source was an IMF loan taken out by the former Social Liberal Cabinet for the crisis, which was otherwise heavily criticized by the Orbán family. The ownership ratio, combined with existing smaller Mol packages from government agencies, was added to 25 percent. Surgutnyeftyegáz bought the package from the Austrian OMV in 2009, breaking 130 billion from the deal at the then exchange rate. Viktor Orbán, his then minister of special affairs, Tamás Fellegi, did not visit Moscow, but according to the news, the then main background man, Lajos Simicska and his circle, were not idle either. But the Hungarian authorities also helped, as the Russians were not even allowed to be registered in the oil company’s share register. Vladimir Putin also hatched personally because of the Hungarian opposition, which was undoubtedly less friendly. Although Viktor Orbán put it at the time of the purchase, “we got Molt back,” which was “secured from a national strategic point of view,” there was no evidence of a 21 percent significant impact that Molra could have had on a company close to Putin. OMV, which had owned the package until then, could have felt the same way. The Austrian competitor also launched a takeover bid, but in addition to complaining to the Mol management at general meetings, its intentions were derailed. Thus, the then opposition Fidesz, together with the Gyurcsány government, built a legal fortress around Mol. By the way, the Austrian competitor – as one expert pointed out – was eyeing Molra when the first Orbán government pushed the oil company to the brink of bankruptcy in 2001, following a gas price dispute, which it thus dropped on its shares. Incidentally, Mol was forced to sell its gas business due to this gas dispute, which was then repurchased by the Orbán in 2013 from the German E.ON for nearly three hundred billion in public money.
Although there is no doubt that Molt, formed in 1991 (from OKGT) until 2006, was sold in several installments, almost exclusively by left-wing governments, his study by Katalin Antalóczy and Péter Vincze From State to State: Mol as National Champion recalls that privatization In 1991, the government of József Antall decided. The MDF cabinet also conducted an unsuccessful and a smaller successful sales campaign in exchange for compensation tickets. The first big wave, however, can undoubtedly be made for the duration of the Horn Cabinet. It was then decided that they were not looking for a large, professional investor, but were selling the securities on the stock exchange to many small shareholders. This clearly served the purpose of preventing Mol from falling into Russian hands. At the same time, as the share of the state decreased, the influence of the Mol management increased. Thus, the group has been managed by Zsolt Hernádi since 2001. The first Orbán cabinet did not sell Mol papers for less theoretical or more practical reasons. The security of energy supply does not depend on the ownership structure of Mol, but on the regulators, our source said. Almost all of the oil company’s activities are competitive, and its legal environment is considered to be fundamentally appropriate. In addition, although Mol is undoubtedly the largest Hungarian company, its activities are, say, less strategic than utilities. True, the central, high-pressure transportation from the gas business remained with them, the effectiveness of which also depends on the government’s policy. Nevertheless, domestic lawmakers say many take Mol’s considerations into account to a great extent. According to Zsolt Hernádi, Vice President Sándor Csányi, for example, the company’s staff has always had a very close relationship with Viktor Orbán, which has not been particularly affected by Mol’s state ownership. Although political embeddedness is not necessarily bad for Mol, it is international experience that an increase in state influence impairs efficiency. Thus, the “foundation” of Mol shares also caused tension among independent shareholders. After all, three foundations, which are considered opaque – partly university – now gain thirty percent, ie a very strong influence in the oil company.
Source: Népszava by nepszava.hu.
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