* Govt has 24.6 percent of MOL, no plans to sell
* May use stake for other ways to finance debt, unclear how
* Bought 21.2 percent stake in 2011 from Russia’s Surgut
BUDAPEST, Nov 8 (Reuters) - Hungary’s government has no plans to sell its stake in oil and gas group MOL but might use the holding to raise money in other ways if necessary, the Economy Ministry said in a written reply to Reuters questions.
Central Europe’s most indebted nation has not tapped international debt markets this year and Economy Minister Gyorgy Matolcsy said this week the MOL stake may serve to help raise money if market pressures increase.
“Raising funds with the help of the MOL stock would not necessarily mean selling,” the ministry told Reuters.
“It is possible to raise favourable market financing while holding on to strategic ownership rights as well.”
The ministry did not specify what kind of funding it had in mind and did not immediately reply to questions about whether it planned to use the stake as collateral for a loan.
“There is no plan to sell the shares,” it said. “If the external environment were to deteriorate severely and cause serious financing difficulties, we could discuss raising funds that way. The MOL shares are an additional safety reserve.”
Hoping to boost the security of its energy supply, the government bought a 21.2 percent stake in MOL from Russia’s Surgutneftegaz at about 85 euros per share in July last year, in a transaction worth nearly 2 billion euros.
The government had a 24.6 percent stake in MOL as of June 30, according to the company’s website. That stake is worth about 1.68 billion euros.
Because there are no plans to sell, the ministry said it could not specify a minimum stake it wanted to keep. (Reporting by Marton Dunai; Editing by David Holmes)