A group of minority shareholders in BP Plc’s Russian venture said they are suing the U.K. company for 87 billion rubles ($3 billion) for damages they allege resulted from the collapse of its alliance with OAO Rosneft.
OAO TNK-BP Holding (TNBP), the traded unit of the venture, could have gained profits of that magnitude from the growth in Rosneft’s share value if the company had been allowed to replace BP in a deal to swap shares and explore the Arctic with Rosneft, the group led by Andrei Prokhorov said today in an e-mailed statement.
BP’s plan for a $7.8 billion share swap and exploration alliance with Russia’s biggest oil explorer collapsed after its billionaire partners in TNK-BP blocked the deal in a Stockholm tribunal, claiming it violated a shareholders’ agreement. BP’s directors on the TNK-BP board voted down a proposal to allow the U.K. company to be replaced, TNK-BP said March 12.
The shareholders’ claim has been filed to Tyumen arbitration court in Siberia and hearings will take place Sept. 21 and Oct. 12, court filings show. TNK-BP spokesman Dmitry Sergeev declined to comment on the suit when reached by phone.
“We do not believe there is any legitimate basis whatsoever for such a claim,” BP spokesman Toby Odone said in an e-mail. “If any such claim is advanced against BP or the directors of TNK-BP Holding, these will be vigorously defended.”
To contact the reporter on this story: Stephen Bierman in Moscow at email@example.com