Yukos assets valued at US$20 billion ahead of bankruptcy auction

Court-appointed evaluators have put a US$20 billion (Ђ16 billion) price tag on the remaining assets of the bankrupt Yukos oil group that are to be liquidated, the Vedomosti daily reported Friday, after a politically charged government campaign brought the company to its knees and put its former CEO behind bars.

The valuation is some US$6 billion (Ђ5 billion) lower than the total claims from creditors registered by liquidators. However Yukos representatives have argued in the course of bankruptcy proceedings that even with a conservative estimate the company was worth US$30 billion (Ђ23 billion).

The paper said the valuation would be presented to Yukos' court-appointed bankruptcy supervisor on Friday as the company is readying for a series of auctions that analysts expect to be dominated by state-controlled energy companies OAO Gazprom and OAO Rosneft.

Neither Eduard Rebgun, the bankruptcy supervisor, nor his spokesman could be immediately reached for comment Friday.

Yukos' remaining assets include units that produce some 470,000 barrels per day as well as two refineries, reports AP.

The company's biggest production unit was acquired by oil company Rosneft after its disputed auction against Yukos' back tax bills in 2004.

In a separate report, the Interfax news agency cited an unidentified banking source as saying that Rosneft would secure a low-interest US$24.5 billion (Ђ19 billion) syndicated loan in the first three months of the year, which it would use to participate in the bidding.

Rosneft spokesman Nikolai Manvelov declined to comment on the report.

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