7 Mar 2018 17:02

Gazprom board only 'takes note' of information on prospects of buyback

MOSCOW. March 7 (Interfax) - The Gazprom board of directors have taken note of information regarding the prospects of a buyback program of Gazprom shares and global depositary receipts (GDR), the company said in a statement.

Eleven members of the board voted in favor of this.

The meeting took place in absentia.

Then board also approved of buying a supplementary share issue by the company Gazprom Kyrgyzstan by paying an equity contribution of 1.098 billion som or around 900 million rubles cash.

Gazprom said in February 20 that the board had put the issue of a possible program to buy back the company's shares and Global Depositary Receipts (GDR) on its agenda. The inclusion of this issue, which is a sensitive one for the market, in the agenda of a board meeting was initiated by independent director Timur Kulibayev, a source familiar with materials on this issue told Interfax at the time.

The issue was be considered in absentia, with ballots due by March 5, rather than at an in-person meeting, which could be an indication of the level of discussion of this issue.

This issue was put before the board less than two weeks after Gazprom deputy CEO Andrei Kruglov commented on the prospect of a buyback at a meeting with investors in London.

"As for the issue of a share buyback, we've often heard such questions from investors, and the company has conducted an analysis of such possibilities of a potential share buyback. I think that we'll come to this. But, actually, I think that in the next couple of years, as was said regarding the peak of Gazprom's investment cycle, this seems unlikely," Kruglov said.

In August 2017, also on Kulibayev's initiative, the no less interesting issue of amendments to dividend policy was put on the agenda for a board meeting. "We considered the policy to be reasonable, to be right, and all decisions were carried unanimously," the board chairman, Viktor Zubkov, said, after board members had familiarized themselves with the issue. The board decided to "take note" of that information, too.