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BP board to meet over Rosneft proposal on TNK-BP stake

October 19, 2012, 8:49 UTC+3
The City of London sources noted the positive potential of the transaction from the perspective of the development of BP in Russia for years to come
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LONDON, October 19 (Itar-Tass) — The Board of Directors of British Petroleum will hold a meeting in the UK capital on Friday. According to the local business community, BP CEO Robert Dudley at the meeting will make a recommendation to accept the offer of Russia’s oil company Rosneft on the acquisition of a stake in the Russian-British oil company TNK-BP in a deal with the offer of cash and shares, estimated at more than 25 billion US dollars.

Itar-Tass learnt from sources familiar with the negotiations between BP and Rosneft that the Russian company on Thursday presented to BP its bid to buy a 50-percent stake in Russia’s third in terms of oil production company TNK-BP. The BP press service declined to comment whether the Rosneft formal proposal was presented. However, sources in the City of London confirmed this information.

According to data published earlier by The Financial Times, the Russian state-run company may buy a 50-percent BP stake in TNK-BP “for 15-20 billion US dollars in cash, plus 10-20 percent of Rosneft shares.” The sources said that the potential deal on Thursday was discussed at negotiations between Robert Dudley and the head of Rosneft, Igor Sechin, who arrived in the British capital on Wednesday.

According to The Guardian, “The exact details of the tie-up under which BP sells its 50 percent holding in its TNK-BP joint venture were still being worked on but it looks as if Dudley is willing to take a 15 percent share in Rosneft with the rest being handed over in cash.”

“The BP board will consider the offer on Friday afternoon when Dudley will talk positively about the benefits. No detailed consideration has gone into how any Russian windfall – likely to be more than 15 billion US dollars – will be used but a special dividend is one of the top options,” the publication says.

The City of London sources noted the positive potential of the transaction from the perspective of the development of BP in Russia for years to come. According to The Financial Times that recalls the long-standing BP differences with the other co-owner of TNK-BP - AAR, which owns the remaining 50 percent is the joint venture – “BP is poised to fulfil a dream that has eluded it for years – a fresh start in Russia.”

“BP will get preferential access to resources, their projects will be prioritised and their interests aligned with the government,” says Stephen Thornber, global equity fund manager at Threadneedle Investments. “Russia is a very difficult place to get into, and this ensures them a place there.”

In addition, it is not excluded that the sale of shares in TNK-BP will allow BP investors to count on getting a large payment through special dividends. “A big infusion of cash will allow BP to pay down debt, acquire assets and reward investors, possibly with a special dividend or a share buyback,” according to FT.

 

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