Unipetrol, a Czech oil holding company, threatened to take the US based Conoco and two other partners to an arbitration court after they blocked a bid to put its chief executive in charge of a refiner they jointly own. The shares fell almost ten percent on the news.
Unipetrol, which owns stakes in the largest Czech refining and petrochemical companies, claims that 1995 and 1997 agreements with Conoco, Royal Dutch Shell Group, and Agip Petroli International prevent its partners from rejecting Unipetrol's bid to change its own representatives in the refinery, Ceska Rafinerska.
The holding company wants to replace Rafinerska's chief executive and reassert control after its petrochemical unit complained Rafinerska was charging it higher-than-market prices for raw materials. Analysts said they were concerned the dispute may derail an agreement to sell Unipetrol to a Czech-Swiss company.
Lawsuits and “bickering between the shareholders could derail the Unipetrol sale plan,” said Lukas Dufek, an analyst at Baader Securities in Prague, who has a hold recommendation for the stock. “There are so many uncertainties that I wouldn't recommend this stock to my clients.”