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TNK-BP Snaps Four-Day Slide on Bets BP Won’t Sell: Moscow Mover

BP is considering offers from unidentified suitors for its stake amid a dispute with billionaire partners that has kept the company from forming a board of directors since December. Photographer: Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg
BP is considering offers from unidentified suitors for its stake amid a dispute with billionaire partners that has kept the company from forming a board of directors since December. Photographer: Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg

June 4 (Bloomberg) -- TNK-BP rose, snapping four days of declines, on speculation BP Plc won’t sell its stake in Russia’s third-largest oil producer, unwinding a nine-year investment.

TNK-BP advanced 1.1 percent to 70.76 rubles by the close in Moscow, after tumbling 10 percent on June 1 following BP’s statement that it may sell its half of the company.

“The sale would go against BP’s strategic interests,” Mikhail Rotaev, an analyst at Renaissance Capital in Moscow, said by phone. “To sell its biggest Russian investment would be illogical.”

The sale, which analysts said could raise at least $30 billion, would dismantle BP’s landmark venture, the largest foreign investment in Russia’s oil industry. BP said last week it is considering offers from unidentified suitors for its stake amid a dispute with billionaire partners that has kept the company from forming a board of directors since December.

BP’s statement probably won’t end in a deal and is just part of its strategy in dealing with its Russian shareholders, according to VTB Capital.

“The most likely outcome is the company resuming operations in the former shareholder structure,” VTB analysts led by Dmitry Loukashov, who once worked at TNK-BP, said in a research note today. “The recent spike in media attention as concerns a ‘possible deal’ has been part of both sides’ strategy, which in turn is to draw in the interest of potential buyers.”

One of the Russian billionaire shareholders, Mikhail Fridman, tendered his resignation as chief executive officer of TNK-BP on May 28, saying later the 50-50 shareholder structure had “run its course.”

Alfa-Access-Renova, the group known as AAR that represents BP’s partners, “sent indicative terms for a deal, which are still on the table for discussion,” Stan Polovets, AAR’s chief executive officer, said by phone last week. Rosneftegaz, the state-owned Russian oil company, made an approach to BP to buy its stake in TNK-BP, the Sunday Times reported on June 3, without citing anyone for the information.

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

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Gavin Serkin at gserkin@bloomberg.net

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