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Poland's PGNiG shareholders approve takeover by PKN Orlen

FILE PHOTO: The logo of PKN Orlen, Poland's top oil refiner, pictured at a petrol station in Warsaw

WARSAW (Reuters) - Shareholders of Polish gas company PGNiG on Monday approved the company's takeover by refiner PKN Orlen, moving the oil firm closer to completing its plan to become a national energy champion able to compete with global players.

Poland is seeking to create a global player to boost its energy security and shoulder the country's move away from fossil fuels while maximising opportunities in the oil, gas and electricity sectors.

Shareholders owning at least two-thirds of PGNiG shares had to back the merger terms to approve it. Almost all of votes were in favour, results of the vote showed. Orlen shareholders backed the merger last month.

"(The merger would result) in increasing the balance sheet buffer in an environment of strong demand for working capital due to high gas prices," Michal Kozak, Trigon DM analyst, told Reuters.

"Taking into account the scale of the group, the share of the state treasury and the laboriousness of state capital groups to cut costs, I would not assume greater synergies," he added.

The deal is contingent on a final approval by Poland's antimonopoly regulator, which has initially cleared the takeover under condition that the merged entity will divest Gas Storage Poland, an entity of PGNiG that operates the country's gas storage facilities. The divestment is due to take place within a year from the merger.

Earlier this year Orlen merged with smaller rival Grupa Lotos to create central Europe's biggest integrated oil refiner.

(Reporting by Anna Koper, Alan Charlish and Marek Strzelecki; editing by David Evans)