Gazprom Sells 9.4% of Novatek to Gazprombank Vehicle

OAO Novatek, Russia’s second-largest natural-gas company, said OAO Gazprombank acquired a 9.4 percent stake in the fuel producer from state-controlled OAO Gazprom.

The lender gained the stake through an investment vehicle, Dhignfinolhu Holding Ltd., Novatek said today in a regulatory filing, without disclosing the price. Gazprom owns less than a controlling 50 percent stake in Gazprombank, according to their websites.

Gazprom, the world’s biggest gas producer, doesn’t plan to cut its stake below 10 percent, Chief Executive Officer Alexei Miller said on Nov. 13. The Moscow-based producer bought 19.4 percent of Novatek in September 2006.

The 285.5 million shares of Novatek that Gazprombank’s special-purpose entity acquired had a value of 87.4 billion rubles ($2.8 billion), based on today’s share price. Novatek shares rose 0.1 percent, the fifth straight day of gains, to 306.02 rubles in Moscow.

Gazprom spokesman Sergei Kupriyanov confirmed the transaction, declining to elaborate. Gazprombank’s press service declined to comment on the deal when contacted by Bloomberg News.

Stuart Leasor, a spokesman for Volga Resources SICAV SIF SA, which holds 23.13 percent of Novatek, declined to comment immediately on the transaction. Volga Resources, Russian businessman Gennady Timchenko’s investment fund, gained antitrust approval to buy as much as 23.49 percent of the Tarko-Sale, Russia-based gas producer, in December last year.

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