April 10, 2018 / 3:41 PM / 10 days ago

Croatia picks Morgan Stanley-led consortium as adviser in INA share buyback

ZAGREB, April 10 (Reuters) - Croatia has picked a consortium led by Morgan Stanley to advise it in the process of buying back 49 percent shares of the energy company INA , from Hungary’s MOL, Finance Minister Zdravko Maric said on Tuesday.

The consortium also includes Intesa Sanpaolo and its Croatian branch Privredna Banka Zagreb.

“In accordance with this decision, we will start negotiations with the consortium and will sign a contract,” Maric said.

In January Croatia said it had received seven offers from potential advisers.

Zagreb, which owns close to 45 percent of INA, and MOL with an almost 50 percent stake, have for several years been at odds over management rights and INA’s investment strategy.

Croatia said in late 2016 it had decided to buy back INA shares and Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orban confirmed that MOL was ready to sell.

One of the most important roles for the adviser will be to determine the value of any transaction.

INA has a market capitalisation of about 33 billion kuna ($5.49 billion) but analysts have said the small free float of the company is likely to impact its value. ($1 = 6.0120 kuna) (Reporting by Igor Ilic; Writing by Ivana Sekularac; editing by David Evans)

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