Sibneft Move Helps To Free Liquidity For New Investors

Sibneft and its owners have sold a 1.26 percent stake through UBS Warburg, according to a statement e-mailed by the investment bank to news organizations.

UBS Warburg said it sold sixty million shares of Russia's number six oil producer at $2.12 each, raising a total of $127 million.

Sibneft shares closed at a record on Tuesday after its majority owners said they would cut their stake to seventy five percent, from the present eighty eight percent, thus selling shares worth more than $1.3 billion by 2005. The shares gained another 1.4 percent yesterday.

Cutting the size of the stake to seventy five percent could more than double the amount of Sibneft shares readily available on the market, boosting the stock's attractiveness to investors by making it easier to buy and sell the shares due to the greater liquidity. It could also boost the role of minority investors by letting them block major asset sales or purchases.

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