Sibneft Players Form $3 Bln Holding

A group of Sibneft shareholders announced that they have consolidated their oil, metals, aviation and other assets in a financial-industrial powerhouse called Millhouse Capital. The new British-registered holding is worth $3 billion to $4 billion, comparable to the country's largest holding Alfa Group, analysts said. Millhouse will manage an 88 percent stake in Sibneft, Russia's sixth-largest oil company, a 50-percent stake in the world's No. 2 aluminum producer Russian Aluminum, and 26 percent of Russia's flagship airline Aeroflot, a Millhouse source said. The holding will also manage controlling stakes in GAZ, Russia's second-largest automaker, the Ingosstrakh insurance giant, the Nosta metals plant and medium-sized Avtobank. In addition, it will have stakes in Irkutskenergo, the Krasnoyarsk hydroelectric plant and the Ust Ilinsky pulp-and-paper plant. Millhouse will be headed by Sibneft president Eugene Shvidler. "The company aims to be a progressive force for change on the Russian corporate landscape," Shvidler said. "Millhouse will target undervalued assets where growth in shareholder value has been hindered by ineffective management, lack of investment or bad corporate governance." The Sibneft shareholders behind the move are believed to be led by Roman Abramovich, who has said he owns 44 percent of Sibnef and who celebrated his 35th birthday Wednesday. Millhouse was minted in the mold of Alfa Group, which manages Alfa Bank and Tyumen Oil Co. among other companies, and has about the same value, $3 billion to $4 billion, said James Fenkner, equity strategist for the Troika Dialog brokerage. "It might even be bigger than Alfa," Russia Journal quoted Eric Kraus, chief strategist at the NIKoil brokerage, as saying.

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