Sibneft and YUKOS continue de-merger talks

An extraordinary general meeting of Sibneft was not held due to a lack of a quorum. According to analysts at Veles Capital, this is a sign that the main shareholders in Sibneft and YUKOS continue talks to reverse the planned merger. The standoff between the YUKOS management and the former Sibneft shareholders is a visible sign of the process, and the 'divorce' of the two companies is underway.

The analysts say YUKOS's management, in its desire to gain control of Sibneft's activities, tries to protect the interests of minority shareholders, acting without consultation with the former major shareholders of the company. "If the actions of the management had not suited the major shareholders in YUKOS, they would have quickly replaced the management team," the experts say. In their opinion, minority shareholders in both YUKOS and Sibneft would be hit by the 'divorce'.

For their part, analysts at the Zenit bank believe there is no reason for YUKOS's leadership to step up the divorce process now, given the weakening of Roman Abramovich's position in the Russian government. That is why, they say, the divorce of YUKOS and Sibneft is not so obvious as it was in January.

The extraordinary general meeting of Sibneft, which was scheduled for March 28, 2004, was not held because of a lack of a quorum. YUKOS, holding a 92 percent stake in Sibneft, called the meeting to replace the Sibneft Board of Directors and change the company's articles of association. YUKOS spokesman Alexander Shadrin said bulletins submitted by the representatives of YUKOS had not been taken into account at the meeting. According to him, the bulletins, attested by a notary public, had been timely submitted to Sibneft's registrar, Registrator R.O.S.T. YUKOS is going to appeal the results of the meeting to an arbitration court and file a complaint with the Federal Commission for the Securities Market. For its part, Sibneft says the results of the extraordinary general meeting corresponded to an agreement on the de-merger reached by the major shareholders in YUKOS and Sibneft.

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