Analysts comment on Gazprom-Rosneft merger

The Gazprom-Rosneft merger is developing into a political fight for control over the joint venture, analysts believe. The winner will determine Rosneft's status in the Gazprom group and the role of Rosneft's top-management. The ongoing fight affects the merger, experts point out. However, they have no doubt that the proposed merger will be accomplished. Russian President Vladimir Putin's announcement that the proposed merger will become an instrument of the liberalization of the market for Gazprom shares is a confirmation of this idea. Analysts foresee that this liberalization will take place in the middle of 2005.

Experts point to a conflict between the managers of the two companies. Gazprom apprehends Rosneft's spinning off certain assets before the merger. Rosneft says that its assets are underestimated by Gazprom managers. This conflict may result in new setbacks in the liberalization.

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