3 Mar 2010 14:26

Gazprom eyes control of some gencos in asset swap with Inter RAO

MOSCOW. March 3 (Interfax) - Gazprom will seek to increase its minority stakes in some generating companies to controlling when it swaps power sector assets with electricity trader Inter RAO , Denis Fyodorov, head of Gazprom Energy Holding, told Interfax.

"We want to make core assets out of non-core assets," Fyorodov said.

Fyodorov said he was talking about gencos in which Gazprom held "virtual" stakes which, following the asset swap, might be increased to a size that enables the gas giant to exercise control. He did not say which assets were at issue.

Fyodorov also said temporary schemes might be set up like placing assets in Gazprom's trusteeship or installing its representatives on the boards of directors at power companies. He said Gazprom Energy Holding had already submitted its proposals on the asset swap to Inter RAO and was waiting for a response.

The assets that Gazprom Energy Holding is interested in include assets that were not sold when RAO UES of Russia, the old electricity monopoly, was being broken up, and which are currently on the balance sheets of the Federal Grid Company or RusHydro , or are held by the state and will in time be handed to Inter RAO. Fyodorov said Inter RAO might receive those assets by the end of this year.

In time, Gazprom might be interested in power sales assets in the framework of the swap with Gazprom, but talks on this are not being conducted or now, Fyodorov said.

Talks on a possible asset-swap between Gazprom and Inter RAO were first announced last summer, but it emerged in December that they had been put on hold. Fyodorov said at the time that one reason they were halted was a management change at Inter RAO - Boris Kovalchuk from Rosatom replaced Yevgeny Dod as CEO in November, and is now acting CEO.

Yevgeny Dod told reporters when he was still Inter RAO's chief that an exchange might involve specific power plants or stakes in power companies.

Gazprom Energy Holding has so far consolidated 53.47% of Mosenergo , 46.34% of TGK-1 , 8.34% of Inter RAO, 10.49% of Inter-District Grid Company Holding (IDGC Holding), 10.49% of RAO Energy Systems Vostok (East), and 99.2% of CentrEnergoHolding, which owns 44.4% of the OGK-2 generating company, 42.9% of the OGK-6 genco, 4.8% of TGK-13 , 4.4% of Kuzbassenergo , 8.3% of Inter RAO and 4.4% of Federal Grid Company UES.

Gazprom also holds 51% of the shares in the Kaliningrad #2 CHP plant, which is under construction, the other shares in which belong to Inter RAO. The holding owns Kaunas CHP plant in Lithuania. Gazprom, for its part, is building Adler heat and power station in the Greater Sochi area.

Inter RAO has several stations in Russia, including the Northwestern and Sochi CHP plants, and Ivanovo PGU steam-gas unit. Inter RAO runs OGK-1 and recently consolidated control over TGK-11.

In addition to the shares in the companies that remained unsold when RAO UES of Russia was being broken up, Inter RAO is also buying, the Otkritie UES Capital Partners Fund PLC from the Otkritie Financial Company. The fund was put together in the summer of 2008 from an almost 5% stake in RAO UES of Russia. The fund has stakes in power companies spun off from RAO UES worth $1.5 billion on its books.