Analysts say 25% stake in YukosSibneft might be sold to foreign companies

Key shareholders of YukosSibneft have started preliminary (unofficial) consultations on selling a 25-percent stake in YukosSibneft to foreign companies, NIKoil's senior analyst told RBC. He specified that earlier YUKOS had declared about its intention to sell some stake in YukosSibneft. "Selling of shares, given that a controlling stake remains at key shareholders, in order to invest the raised funds in a company's development is a usual practice", the analyst stressed.

Responding to the question about a possible reaction of the Russian government to such a deal he noted that the government "has already expressed" the undesirability of such a deal. Oil revenues are the main source of the Russian budget's revenues. The more shares of oil companies will belong to foreign companies the more influence they will have on the Russian budget.

An analyst of the bank Zenit mentioned ExxonMobil and Shell among possible buyers of YukosSibneft shares. "The beginning of official negotiations on selling YukosSibneft shares might be expected after legal problems with Russian law enforcement agencies are settled", he added.

The Russian Anti-Monopoly Ministry approved the merger of YUKOS and Sibneft on August 14, 2003.

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