Croats ask for their share in oil firm assets

ZAGREB (Reuters) – Croatia’s national oil concern INA said late on Tuesday it would continue a legal battle over confiscated property against Beopetrol after Serbia agreed to sell the fuel chain to leading Russian oil producer Lukoil. Serbia said on Monday it would sell a 70 percent stake in its second-largest chain of petrol stations to Lukoil for 207 million euros ($225.9 million). Hungary’s MOL, which acquired 25 percent of INA in July, offered 187 million. «We are deeply disappointed and angered with this decision… and will continue taking legal steps to recover our property from relevant institutions in Serbia and all international institutions,» an INA statement said. Beopetrol was set up in 1990, just before war tore apart the communist Yugoslav federation, from what used to be part of INA’s chain in Serbia. INA has sued Beopetrol to claim back its property and the matter has yet to be resolved. «The whole process of Beopetrol’s sale has been illegal and illegitimate… and we will pursue activities to get back our property,» the INA statement said, urging the Croatian government to take similar steps. There had been talks about forming a joint company, INA claimed. Serbia’s Privatization Minister Aleksandar Vlahovic said on Monday he foresaw no trouble with INA. «The property of Beopetrol belongs to Beopetrol only, not to INA.»