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FT: Abramovich Has Bid for Rosneft Shares

Billionaire Roman Abramovich has placed a bid for a stake in Rosneft, giving a boost to the Russian oil group's planned initial public offering, the Financial Times newspaper said Saturday.

The newspaper, citing unidentified people familiar with the details, said Abramovich made the bid earlier last week. It was likely to have been for several hundreds of millions of dollars worth of shares, it said.

Rosneft is planning to raise $11 billion from an initial public offering of between 13 and 19 percent of its stock in London and Moscow on July 14.

The Financial Times said a spokesman for Abramovich declined to comment.

Rosneft has received offers from investors valuing it at about $65 billion, The Business said Sunday.

The newspaper cited an unidentified person involved in the initial public offering, who said the valuation may be $2.5 billion higher or lower than the $65 billion figure.

Investors may have already subscribed for as many as one and a half times as many shares as are being offered, the person was cited as saying. Rosneft management had hoped for a valuation of about $80 billion, but $65 billion is in line with what the company's banks had expected, The Business said.

Companies including BP, Chinese groups China National Petroleum Corp. and Sinopec and India's ONGC have all made nonbinding expressions of interest, Vedomosti reported Friday, citing unidentified banking sources. Vedomosti also said Russian tycoons, including Abramovich, had been approached to throw their weight behind the offering.

M.S. Srinivasan, India's petroleum minister, said ONGC was considering an investment of $3 billion, Dow Jones Newswires reported. BP declined to comment, while representatives of the Chinese companies were not immediately available on Friday. Malaysia's state-owned oil company Petronas has also said it was considering participating in the IPO.

"The market cap of Rosneft will be around $60 billion. Our investment will be roughly for a 5 percent stake," India's Srinivasan said.

Vedomosti cited its sources as saying that total nonbinding interest already clocked in at $12 billion. Rosneft has said it plans to offer 14.9 percent of its stock in order to raise between $8.5 billion and $11.6 billion.

Sinopec paid $3.5 billion to buy Udmurtneft from TNK-BP in a joint acquisition with Rosneft, sources familiar with the deal said Friday.

Sinopec Group, the state parent of publicly traded Sinopec, sealed the deal with TNK-BP at a signing ceremony in Beijing this weekend, marking China's first foray into Russia's vast oil sector, sources said.

Gazprombank, one of the local banks selling Rosneft shares to individual investors in Russia, kept its Moscow branches open over the weekend to cope with the extra demand.


(The Moscow Times 10.vii.06)

 
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