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TNK-BP Slumps as Board Recommends Waiving Dividend: Moscow Mover

OAO TNK-BP Holding (TNBP), the traded unit of the oil venture that OAO Rosneft bought for $55 billion, fell the most in almost two weeks as the board recommended waiving dividends for last year.

Shares fell as much as 8.2 percent, trading down 2.4 percent at 40.50 rubles by 1:41 p.m. in Moscow, with the volume at about 81 percent of the three-month average. The stock is down 30 percent this year.

TNK-BP Holding’s board recommended not paying dividends for 2012, according to a statement today. Minorities in TNK-BP Holding have sought to retain high payouts after state-run Rosneft took over the company. Rosneft has no obligations to TNK-BP Holding minorities, Chief Executive Officer Igor Sechin said last year, even while pledging to comply with an order from President Vladimir Putin to raise his company’s payout to 25 percent of profit.

“It’s a disappointment,” Mattias Westman, chief executive officer of Prosperity Capital Management Ltd., which oversees about $4.5 billion in Russian assets, said by mobile phone from London. “The treatment of minority investors in TNK-BP should make investors think twice about becoming minorities in Rosneft if and when there’s a privatization.”

Sechin proposed last month that Rosneft be accountable for TNK-BP dividends only from March 21, the date when it took control of the venture. He also suggested TNK-BP Holding shareholders may receive payouts at a level similar to Rosneft in the future, according to his press service.

Government Rule

“It’s unclear why Rosneft wouldn’t follow the government rule for the 25 percent payout,” Ildar Davletshin, an analyst at Renaissance Capital, said by phone from Moscow. “The issue of the future of TNK-BP minorities remains the topic of the day.”

A committee to work with minority shareholders in TNK-BP Holding led by Rosneft Vice President Svyatoslav Slavinsky, will be established, the state-run oil producer said in a statement today.

Rosneft became the world’s largest publicly traded oil producer by output in March when it bought TNK-BP from BP Plc (BP/) and a group of billionaires in the country’s largest acquisition. Rosneft’s decision not to buy out minority stakes, followed by a move to borrow from the company and end the dividend policy, sent TNK-BP Holding’s shares tumbling 26 percent on March 26, the most on record.

Investors including Templeton Emerging Markets Group and Prosperity Capital said at the time Rosneft was putting Russia’s reputation at risk.

Deserving Dividends

Westman, whose firm has been representing minorities in the fight against Rosneft, said talks about swapping TNK-BP stock for Rosneft equity were continuing.

TNK-BP Holding paid 9.96 rubles a shares in dividends per common and preferred shares for 2011.

“Of course, this decision is disappointing because minority investors deserve last year’s dividend as much as Rosneft does,” Stanislav Kopylov, who helps manage about $3 billion at UralSib Asset Management in Moscow and holds TNK-BP shares, said by phone.

To contact the reporters on this story: Ksenia Galouchko in Moscow at kgalouchko1@bloomberg.net; Jason Corcoran in Moscow at jcorcoran13@bloomberg.net; Stephen Bierman in Moscow at sbierman1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Wojciech Moskwa at wmoskwa@bloomberg.net

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