BUDAPEST Oct 16 Shares in MOL fell
sharply on Wednesday partly in response to a local press report
which suggested that Norway's $790 billion sovereign wealth fund
might consider selling its holding in the Hungarian energy
Hungarian business daily Napi Gazdasag, citing the ethics
rules of Norway's $790 billion wealth fund, said that based on
those rules, the fund might consider selling its MOL shares,
without giving any sources.
A MOL spokesman dismissed the Napi Gazdasag report as
speculation. "This press report is mere speculation, it lacks
any foundation," Domokos Szollar told Reuters.
At the end of 2012, the latest period for which data is
available, the fund, known as the oil fund, held a 1.64 percent
stake in MOL.
The Norwegian finance ministry's ethics council declined to
comment on the Napi Gazdasag report.
Norway has ordered a review of the fund and is also looking
at the fund's investment ethics and has expressed concern over
investments in oil companies Royal Dutch Shell and Eni
. It did not mention MOL in any way.
According to the Norwegian wealth fund's ethical guidelines,
the Ministry of Finance makes decisions on the exclusion of
companies from the investment portfolio on the advice of an
ethics council. (For the full guidelines see: here)
"There was this morning's news about the Norway fund - who
knows whether it's true or not. But in any case, the market in
MOL has been nervous for weeks because of INA," an analyst at a
local brokerage said.
He said stop-loss selling also contributed to MOL's falls.
Another analyst and a stock trader also said MOL fell because of
the press report.
MOL is in a dispute with the Croatian government over its
near 50 percent stake and management rights in Croatian energy
The pair began negotiations over their shareholder agreement
Croatia also issued an Interpol and European arrest warrant
for MOL chief Zsolt Hernadi earlier this month in a bribery
case. MOL has denied all the accusations.
MOL's shares at 0955 GMT traded at 14,705 forints, down 3.7
percent from Tuesday, underperforming the wider Budapest market.
. The shares had fallen more than 5 percent earlier in the
(Reporting by Krisztina Than, additional reporting by Balazs
Koranyi in Oslo. Editing by Jane Merriman)