1 Sep 2010 10:49

Rosneftegaz to acquire 0.87% stake in Gazprom by year-end - Sechin

KRASNOYARSK. Sept 1 (Interfax) - The transfer of a 0.87% stake in Gazprom to Rosneftegaz in exchange for state stakes in gas distribution organizations, which will give the state direct control over the gas giant, will be closed before the end of the year, Deputy Prime Minister Igor Sechin said.

"I am confident that everything will happen before year-end," Sechin told journalists in Krasnoyarsk on Wednesday.

The valuation procedure has held up the deal's closing, he said. "Rosneftegaz must exist in market conditions, and if it buys something expensive, it shouldn't sell it cheaply. Rosneftegaz need not generate losses," he said.

The Russian government instructed Rosimushchestvo to transfer stakes in 78 gas sector organizations to the charter capital of Rosneftegaz to pay for a supplementary issue of shares. The stakes were valued at 70 billion rubles. Those assets are being transferred to Rosneftegaz for subsequent exchange for 0.87% of shares in Gazprom. That is the volume of shares the state needs in order to receive direct control over more than 50% of Gazprom shares (via Rosimushchestvo and its 100%-controlled Rosneftegaz).

Sechin said the dividends for 2009 paid by Rosneftegaz, which owns a major stake in Rosneft just as they have been in previous years. He recalled that the Rosneftegaz dividends have been used to acquire Oman's stake in the Caspian Pipeline Consortium (CPC). "Transneft is now operating the second stake [Oman's former CPC stake]. Otherwise [without the Rosneftegaz dividends] Transneft would have to raise additional financing," he said.

"Rosneftegaz was set up to acquire strategic assets in the oil and gas sector. That's precisely what its dividends are being used for," he said. He did not specify the size of the dividends paid for 2009.