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TNK-BP Shareholders Plan Meeting as BP Pursues Sale of Interest

TNK-BP’s shareholders are planning to meet on after the incomplete board of Russia’s third-biggest oil producer failed to gather for almost seven months, according to Chief Financial Officer Jonathan Muir.

Management of the venture, owned 50-50 by BP Plc and a group of billionaires, is preparing for a meeting of directors or shareholders to discuss strategic issues or high-value transactions that must be decided unanimously, Muir said.

“As of this morning that’s what we were doing and that’s what we continue to do,” Muir told reporters today in Moscow. “This is an evolving situation.”

BP announced this month that it was considering selling half of the Moscow-based oil producer amid a shareholders dispute that flared up over the U.K. company’s failed bid to swap shares and explore the Arctic with state-run OAO Rosneft. AAR, which represents the billionaires, has until mid-July to decided on whether it wants to bid, two people with knowledge of the agreement have said, asking not to be identified because the matter is confidential.

TNK-BP’s 11-member board hasn’t met since early December after two of its three independent directors resigned, and dividends won’t be paid until both are replaced, the company said last month. AAR and BP each have four representatives.

Board Meeting

BP agreed with the billionaire shareholders to hold a board meeting next month, the Daily Telegraph reported yesterday, without saying where it got the information. The shareholders include Mikhail Fridman, Viktor Vekselberg and Len Blavatnik, all of whom are board directors, and TNK-BP Executive Director German Khan.

Muir said the only item he knows of that can be voted on without a full board is field development plans for its Rospan gas and condensate unit. He wouldn’t comment on the date, format or agenda of the potential meeting, saying he was still waiting for information. The TNK-BP corporate model still works, and the company is continuing to develop, he said.

“As for dividends, it will be the decision of the shareholders as to when and how much,” Muir said.

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