Polish economy minister in-waiting Pawlak opposes PKN Orlen-Lotos merger

WARSAW (Thomson Financial) - Waldemar Pawlak, who is expected to become economy minister in the new centre-right government, said he was against the merger of two Polish oil refiners PKN Orlen and Grupa Lotos, daily Dziennik reported him as saying.

"There is no need for that (merger) right now", Pawlak was quoted as saying.

"Those companies should compete." The outgoing conservatives have announced plans to merge both refiners in order to fend off competition from foreign oil majors. Pawlak also said there was no rush to merge state-controlled insurer PZU with Poland's largest bank PKO BP planned by the previous conservative government.

In another interview for a local TV station, Pawlak said the Polish government should take steps to prevent inflation from rising, adding the interest rate hikes were "the last resort".

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