New York  : London  : Brussels  : Moscow  : Beijing  : Sydney 
 
 
Client Sign In
Lukoil Stake for Sale

Prime Minister Mikhail Fradkov will hold a meeting this week or next on the sale of the state's remaining 7.6 percent stake in oil major Lukoil, Economy Minister German Gref said Thursday.

Gref said the sale was likely to take place in the form of an auction, but declined to elaborate and specify what type of auction this would be. "We have decided on the scheme and terms of the sale," he told reporters.

The acting head of Russia's Federal Property Fund, Kirill Tomashchuk, told Reuters last week the sale of all or part of the stake may take place by the end of 2004, but the decision to hold the meeting means it might happen earlier.

The Lukoil stake slated for privatisation is estimated at up to $1.9 billion based on the firm's market capitalisation of $24.75 billion.

Many government officials have suggested the state should try to sell the stake promptly as international oil prices may fall from their current peak levels, leading to a subsequent decrease in the stock value.

Government officials have said there were three different ways to sell - through an exchange outside Russia, inside Russia as a single lot, and at a special auction in Russia in many lots.

In 2002, Russia sold 5.9 percent of Lukoil through an issue of depository receipts in London, raising $775 million or $15.5 a share.

Russian stocks have rallied since then, with high oil prices a key driver, and Lukoil traded at $28.85 on the RTS exchange on Thursday.

Should the government decide to sell the Lukoil stake inside Russia, the sell-off is likely to take place soon after the decision. But it may take up to six months to prepare a sale abroad.

Lukoil's stock is one of the most liquid on the Russian market and analysts believe up to 50 percent of the shares are traded freely in Russia and abroad. Lukoil management is believed to control more than 30 percent of the firm.

(The St. Petersburg Times 28.v.04)

 
News Archive