Analysts skeptical about LUKoil chances to win tender in Serbia

The information about LUKoil's intention to participate in a tender on buying a 70-percent stake in Beopetrol a.d., Serbia's second largest retail seller of oil, is positive, however the Russian company is unlikely to win the tender, the investment company NIKoil said in its survey.

According to analysts, the strategy of buying assets of East European oil sellers meets LUKoil interests. At the same time, given the obvious political resistance to Russia's expansion on East European markets, the Hungarian MOL, which has also submitted its bid, is likely to win the tender, analysts believe.

Nevertheless, LUKoil is going to retain its leading position in the sector of retail sales. Currently the company possesses more than 4,000 filling stations. It is the leader in this sector among Russian oil companies. If LUKoil wins this tender, it would increase the number of its gasoline stations by 4.5 percent. The price of the 70-percent block of shares in Beopetrol a.d. has not been announced yet, however, analysts think that it may be about $100m.

LUKoil and MOL are the only participants of the tender currently, since the bid of the Greek company Hellenic Petroleum was denied. Serbia is to announce the winner on August 25, 2003.

Beopetrol has 7 oil storage facilities and 203 gasoline stations, including 23 in Belgrade, Serbia's capital.

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