Croatia has begun the sale of a quarter plus one share in the INA Industrija nafte state oil and gas group that is valued at around $1.8 billion, as it boosts asset sales to attract investment and sustain economic growth in the country. The government, which is being advised by Deutsche Bank and PricewaterhouseCoopers, placed an ad in the Financial Times, inviting potential strategic buyers to express interest. Mol, Hungary's oil and gas monopoly, and OMV, Austria's largest oil company, may be among the bidders, according to reports in the Croatian press. The “Privatization of INA is key to the successful development of the company and the Croatian oil and gas market. . .which means development of the entire economy,” said Slavko Linic, the deputy prime minister, according to a faxed statement. “We expect good interest from international partners.” Croatia earlier this year passed laws on the sale of stakes in INA and state electricity company Hrvatska elektroprivreda as it seeks to speed up asset sales, deregulate the energy market and attract investment as it seeks to join the European Union.
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