VILNIUS - Poland's two largest fuel retailers could be merged out of a need to facilitate the country's energy security, according to reports. Polish Prime Minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski was quoted as saying that he did not rule out a merger between PKN Orlen, the owner of Mazeikiu Nafta, the Baltics' only oil refinery and largest corporation, and Lotos, Poland's second largest oil refiner and fuel retailer.
"There are two visions. One calls for the consolidation of PKN Orlen and the other for the consolidation of Lotos," the Polish news agency PAP quoted Kaczynski as saying.
Treasury Minister Wojciech Jasinski has been quoted as saying that a merger between the two state-controlled oil companies was necessary to enhance the country's energy security.
According to reports, PKN Orlen favors the merger, but Lotos executives are steadfastly against the idea. They balked at a previous takeover offer by PKN Orlen out of fear of losing market share, if not being swallowed up altogether by a much larger competitor.
PKN Orlen, which bought an 84.4 percent stake in Mazeikiu Nafta last December for $2.3 billion, claims that by acquiring Lotos there would be a potential savings of 100 million zloty (26 million euros) for both companies.
In 2006 PKN boasted a 25 percent share of the retail fuel market in Poland. Lotos, by contrast, had some 8 percent, though in recent years it has successfully expanded its service station network by nearly one-third.