MOSCOW, October 9 (RIA Novosti)
BP’s Russian billionaire partners in TNK-BP may hold an initial public offering (IPO) or sell part or all of their shares in the joint venture to a third party, Prime news agency reported on Tuesday, citing sources close to the consortium.
The Alfa Access-Renova (AAR) consortium of four Russian shareholders, which holds a 50 percent stake in TNK-BP, informed the British oil major about these plans on Monday, the source said. The British oil giant is currently holding talks both with AAR and Russian state-controlled oil company Rosneft on a possible sale of its stake, which analysts estimate is worth $25 billion.
BP is currently considering AAR’s latest offer to repurchase its 50 percent stake in the joint venture, and this notification is a precautionary measure giving AAR more room for maneuver if BP declines the Russian billionaires’ offer, the source said.
BP confirmed to Prime news agency the British oil giant had received AAR’s notice and would respond to it within established time limits, adding negotiations on the possible sale of BP’s stake in TNK-BP was continuing.
AAR has stated on many occasions it does not intend to sell its shares in TNK-BP if it succeeds in purchasing BP’s stake, or in case of BP’s refusal to sell its shares.
“Nevertheless, we admit a probability that BP’s stake will be acquired by Rosneft [state-run oil giant] and in this case AAR will be able to make its stock liquid through their public flotation,” the source said.
An IPO is the most probable option for ensuring increased return for shareholders and more effective interaction within TNK-BP, the source said.
BP announced its decision to quit TNK-BP, which accounts for a quarter of the British oil giant's global production and almost a fifth of its reserves, in June 2012 after a long-standing row with the Russian billionaire shareholders that cost BP some of its control over the company.
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