Austrian energy giant OMV said Monday it has paid about 1 billion euros ($1.3 billion) to acquire an additional 8.6% of Hungarian oil and gas company MOL, bringing its total stake to 18.6%.
"Central Europe represents the core market for both OMV and MOL and the two companies complement each other by focusing on different regions within this core market," OMV said in a statement, adding that "an alliance between OMV and MOL would have the scale and scope to compete effectively with the larger oil and gas companies in the world."
With the acquisition of the additional stake, OMV is positioning itself in view of an upcoming wave of consolidation, the statement said.
OMV said it would make sense to start structured discussions with MOL's management on how the two companies could combine their strengths.
"OMV thus invites MOL to an open and constructive dialogue. OMV, in any case, is prepared and ready to do so," OMV said.
OMV Chief Executive Wolfgang Ruttenstorfer said the additional stake strengthened OMV's position and constituted an attractive stepping stone to longer term cooperation between the two companies.