Hungarian refinery giant MOL owns more than 300 petrol stations in the Czech Republic and is looking to further strengthen its position on the Czech market, the Czech daily Hospodářské Noviny reported on Tuesday.
Four years ago, Hungary’s MOL owned only about 25 petrol stations in the country. Following the acquisition of nearly 170 petrol stations from the Russian firm Lukoil and Italian AGIP last year, it currently owns nearly as many stations as Benzina, a network owned by Unipetrol and a long-term number one player on the Czech market.
In an interview for the daily Hospodářské Noviny, the head of the company’s Czech division, Attila Dsupin, said MOL was waiting for a chance to purchase other petrol stations in the country. Mr Dsupin told the daily that considering the dense network of petrol stations in the country, the changes to the petrol market were unlikely to affect oil prices for end consumers.
MOL is currently planning to reduce the number of its petrol station networks in the Czech Republic from four to two. Most of the recently acquired Lukoil and AGIP petrol stations will be turned into flagship MOL stations. Along with those, the company will keep the established Pap Oil network.
In the near future, around two thirds of the stations should carry the company’s logo, which should be installed at around eighty petrol stations by the end of the year. MOL already runs a network of flagship petrol stations in around a dozen other countries in Central and South-East Europe.
According to Hospodářské Noviny daily, the biggest battle between MOL and Unipetrol is expected to take place in the refineries. With the acquisition of new petrol stations MOL has also gained a larger share on the market, at the expense of Unipetrol, which previously supplied Agip and Lukoil.
Compared to the previous year, MOL can currently sell more than twice the amount of petrol in the Czech Republic. According to Ivan Indráček of the Union of the Czech Petroleum Independents, the company has a roughly 15-percent share on the market in the sale of fuels, which is about the same amount as Unipetrol.
The daily Hospodářské Noviny also points out at another advantage of MOL over the rival Unipetrol, which is the high quality of its fuels. The company’s owns a modern refinery in Bratislava, which is directly connected to the Czech transmission system. Unipetrol’s refineries in Kralupy and Litvínov were last modernised in 1997 and 2002 and are lagging behind in that respect.