EC postpones decision on merger of two Polish fuel companies

The European Commission has postponed its own deadline for deciding whether to approve the plans of the Polish oil and petrol giant PKN Orlen to purchase its main Polish rival, Lotos.

On May 4, PKN Orlen proposed remedial measures to the European Commission regarding the M&A (Mergers and Acquisitions). According to the information on the Commission's website, further proposals regarding the transaction were submitted on May 25.

In early April, the EC presented its formal objections concerning the merger. Earlier, a source connected to the European Commission reported that the commission is worried about the fact that a merger of Poland's only two companies engaged in oil refining could harm competition in wholesale and retail fuel markets.

The commission also fears that the merger could have negative consequences on the aviation fuel supply and refinery by-products markets.

Orlen's takeover of the Lotos Group was initiated in February 2018. The company sent an official motion to the EC in early July 2019 to see whether the plans would be met with approval by the authorities in Brussels.

The EC initially had until January 22, 2020 to reach a decision, but postponed the vote on multiple occasions. In September 2019, the EC decided to apply a "stop the clock" procedure thanks to which Orlen gained more time to present documents on the planned takeover.

A state-owned fuel conglomerate, PKN Orlen is the largest company in the refining and petrochemical industry in Poland and one of the largest in Europe. Lotos on the other hand specialises in producing lubricants, crude oil production, refining and the marketing of oil products. Their merger would create a company that would function as a giant player on the Central Eastern European market.