Analysts comment on Gazprom's intention to buy Itera

The price of $500m for the oil and gas company Itera that may be bought by Gazprom is not too high, given the fact that Itera produces 30bn cubic meters of gas a year, according to NIKoil analysts. The corporate history of Itera is, however, not transparent enough, which partly justifies the mentioned price. The analysts do not rule out that the possible deal may remain rumors as Gazprom might fail to find sufficient funds to finance the deal. However, if the Russian gas giant's intention proves to be feasible, this news will have a good impact on Gazprom and the Russian market in general.

According to analysts with the United Financial Group, Gazprom and Itera maintained close business ties until the year 2001 when Gazprom's management underwent serious changes. Since then the companies had many controversies, particularly with regard to supplying gas to the CIS member states. Gazprom is now planning to increase its output by late 2004, and the purchase of Itera may help the gas giant making these plans come true.

Earlier, foreign mass media reported Gazprom was considering the purchase of Itera for $500m. This issue may be discussed at the next meeting of the Gazprom board on November 23.

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