Sechin asked the government to protect Rosneft from BP

Buyers of 19.5% of Rosneft shares that the government plans to sell this year, will be obliged not to enter into a shareholder agreement with BP, which owns 19.5% of the state-owned companies. This was told by two Federal official and a source in “Rosneft”.

According to one of the officials, the President of “Rosneft” Igor Sechin is concerned that in the course of privatization BP will receive a blocking stake in Rosneft. It therefore invites the government to sell shares in the market, and find at least two buyers by 19.5% among Asian companies or funds. “The condition of sales of the shares is likely to be a ban on the conclusion of shareholder agreement with BP. The decision is not accepted, but actively discussed,” the official said.

Another interviewee heard that the package is 19.5% can be divided into three parts and sold to three different investors from Asia with a condition not to enter into shareholder agreement with BP and not to resell her paper “Rosneft”. Ban for new investors to enter into a joint agreement with the British company — “logical”, the state company against increasing the proportion of British to block, adds a source in “Rosneft”.

The state now owns 69.5% of Rosneft through a holding company Rosneftegaz, of which 19.5 per cent are in the privatization plan for 2016 (even one share of Rosimushchestva). This issue was discussed at a meeting with President Vladimir Putin on 1 February dedicated to large-scale privatization. Already on 20 February the first Vice-Premier Igor Shuvalov has signed the instruction on the preparation of privatization of “Rosneft”. And the Minister of economic development Alexei Ulyukayev on Friday, April 8, stated that he had signed and sent to Rosneftegaz, the terms of reference for the sale of shares in state-owned companies. This will allow the company to enter into a contract with investconsultant (his name he did not name) who will organize the privatization.

Assistant to the President Putin and the Chairman of the Board of Directors of “Rosneft” Andrei Belousov at the end of February called the base case of privatization of “Rosneft” sale of 19% stake to a strategic investor. In his opinion, this will allow to get the maximum bonus. On the open market this amount cannot be placed due to large scale, he indicated.

BP “comfortable” with the current stake in Rosneft, and the company does not intend to increase reported previously, said the representative BP in Russia Vladimir Buyanov. The increase in the share of BP in Russia and over 20% were “impractical”, said CEO of BP Robert Dudley in February. “I think we should stay at this level (19,75%. —). […] This is probably our limit”, — he said (quoted by TASS). According to him, if the share of BP in “Rosneft” has exceeded 20%, it would become a dependent party, that would have complicated the process of approval of transactions with “Rosneft”.

Buyanov declined to comment on the possible ban to enter into a shareholder agreement with BP for the new co-owners of “Rosneft”. Declined to comment and a press-Secretary of Rosneft Mikhail Leontyev. The spokesman said that this “initiative” in the office is not considered. His colleague from the Federal property management Agency declined to comment.

To impose restrictions on the sale of securities or on the shareholder agreements on the results of privatization of “Rosneft” in two ways — to enter into a shareholders agreement with buyer, or you can specify this clause in the contract of purchase and sale of shares, says the managing partner of legal company AST Legal Anatoly Yushin. But the separation package 19.5% among several buyers together with the prohibition on shareholder agreement with BP may lead to reduction in the cost of the asset, he warns.

Rosneft is a strategic asset for Russia, therefore such restrictions for foreign investors expected and should not affect the price, says Raiffeisenbank analyst Andrei Polishchuk. Analyst of “Opening the Capital” Artem of Death also doubts that this condition will greatly affect the value of the shares of “Rosneft”: the most likely, will not publicly declare a ban on joint-stock agreement, the buyer can oblige with the subsequent sale of the company shares to offer them first by Rosneft or its structures. He estimates that from the sale of 19.5% of this oil company, the state can save up to $10 billion (678 billion rubles).

On Friday, April 8, 19.5% of “Rosneft” on the Moscow exchange was worth 649,5 billion rubles.