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Yukos' Rosneft Stake to Be Sold in March

Yukos' 9.44 percent stake in Rosneft will be the first of the bankrupt oil company's remaining assets to be auctioned March 27, the Federal Property Fund announced Thursday in the official state newspaper Rossiiskaya Gazeta.

The starting price for the stake has been set at 195.5 billion rubles ($7.46 billion), higher than the earlier expected starting price of $6.87 billion but still 18 percent below the current market value of the stake, which is estimated at $8.8 billion, Alfa Bank wrote in a note to investors Thursday.

The stake will be auctioned in a single lot that includes promissory notes issued by former Yukos unit Yuganskneftegaz, which will be auctioned at a starting price of $136 million.

Each bid must be at least 260 million rubles ($9.8 million) above the previous one, the Federal Property Fund said. This and other auctions will be canceled if there are fewer than two applications, if there are fewer than two participants in the auction, or if participants are unwilling to bid higher than the starting price.

Nikolai Lashkevich, a spokesman for Yukos' court-appointed receiver Eduard Rebgun, declined to say which companies had expressed interest in the Rosneft stake, but analysts believe Rosneft is most likely to win it.

"The pricing parameters disclosed clearly indicate that the prices were set in favor of Rosneft," Alfa Bank said in its note.

"Rosneft will be able to acquire its own shares with an 18 percent discount to market value, hence realizing a net gain of some $1.15 billion."

The next auction will be of Yukos' 20 percent stake in Gazprom Neft, which will be announced by the end of this week, Lashkevich said.

He added that "the auction could happen a little more than a month after the announcement," indicating the end of the first week in April.

No official starting price for this stake, with an estimated market value of $4.25 billion, has been announced yet.

But Kommersant on Thursday reported that it would be set at 111.35 billion rubles, the equivalent of the current market value. Earlier reports put the starting price at 105 billion rubles ($4 billion).

Analysts believe Gazprom will manage to buy Yukos' stake in Gazprom Neft.

A total of 193 Yukos assets will be sold off under bankruptcy procedures, including five Russian refineries and production units Tomskneft and Samaraneftegaz.

Rosneft and Gazprom have both hinted that they might bid for the two production units, as has Florida-registered independent gas producer Itera.


(The Moscow Times 26.ii.07)

 
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