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Author(s)Konstantin Simonov
SourceCurrent Digest of the Russian Press, The ,  No.50,  Vol.68, December  12, 2016, page(s):14
  • The Economy
Place of PublicationMinneapolis, USA
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Author: Konstantin Simonov

(By Konstantin Simonov, general director of the National Energy Security Fund. Vedomosti, Dec. 13, 2016, p. 7. Complete text:) The saga of the 19.5% stake in Rosneft may well be the biggest economic/political hit of the year. There have been quite a few twists and turns along the way, and the story is far from over. On Dec. 7, an announcement came that the "buyback" option [for Rosneft to purchase its own shares] was off the table: The stake was purchased by a consortium formed by the Glencore company and Qatar’s sovereign wealth fund (Qatar Investment Authority) [see the previous article in this section, above], each getting equal shares. This was a positive development, because the buyback deal could hardly have counted as privatization.

But then the story got curiouser and curiouser. On the night of Dec. 9, Rosneft released a statement saying that the consortium would pay only 10.2 billion euros instead of [the previously announced] 10.5 billion, and Rosneftegaz [state oil and gas corporation that holds 75% of Rosneft - Trans.] would make up the difference through an adjustment in Rosneft’s dividend policy. In other words, Rosneft itself will subsidize the deal to sell its stake to Glencore and the QIA. So, who says international investors are mistreated in Russia? Better still, the dividend policy changes mean that shareholders will now get 35% of net profits, instead of 25%. Even the [Russian] government couldn’t wrangle such a generous deal from Rosneft! By noon on Sunday [Dec. 11], though, Rosneft rewrote the statement, dropping these curious details - but the cat was out of the bag.

What’s more, the new shareholders will finance only part of the deal with their own funds. They have taken out loans - not just from [Italian] bank Intesa Sanpaolo but from some Russian banks as well (possibly including state-controlled ones).

Actually, rumors that Glencore and even ...

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