Putin's assistant on liberalizing market of Gazprom shares

The Russian President may sign a decree on liberalizing the market of Gazprom shares after the government acquires a controlling stake in the united company of Gazprom and Rosneft, the Russian President's assistant Igor Shuvalov declared responding to journalists' questions about the period of liberalization of the market of Gazprom shares.

To implement liberalization the government will raise its stake in Gazprom to 50 percent plus 1 share in a deal of swapping a 100-percent stake in Rosneft to 10.7 percent in Gazprom. Liberalization of the market of Gazprom shares envisages the lifting of the current restrictions imposed on the trading of these securities.

Currently, Gazprom shares are traded on four domestic exchanges. Foreign investors are allowed to buy Gazprom shares in the form of ADS and cannot trade them on the domestic market. One ADS corresponds to 10 shares. The difference in the prices of shares on the domestic and foreign markets is about 50 percent. There is also a 20-percent ceiling for a foreign stake in Gazprom's capital.

Gazprom CEO Alexey Miller declared earlier that the Gazprom-Rosneft deal would be accomplished by the end of 2004. Experts think that liberalization of the market of Gazprom shares should be expected by the middle of 2005.

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