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Novorossiysk Drops Most on Micex on Share Concern: Moscow Mover

OAO Novorossiysk Commercial Sea Port led decliners on Russia’s benchmark stock index after the government said it may sell a 20 percent stake in the country’s largest Black Sea harbor through an additional share placement.

Novorossiysk fell 3 percent to 3.48 rubles by the close in Moscow, its lowest level since Feb. 21. The number of shares traded was 1.9 million, equivalent to about 37 percent of the stock’s three-month average volume. The stock slid 3.8 percent to $8.45 in London.

The government hasn’t yet made a final decision on how to sell its 20 percent stake, which it may dispose off through an additional share placement or offer it to a strategic investor, Olga Dergunova, the head of Federal Property Management Agency, said in Moscow today. The sale, which is planned for this year, is unlikely to take place in the “spring window,” Dergunova said. Economy Minister Andrei Belousov said at a government meeting on Feb. 7 Russia is looking for a strategic investor to buy Novorossiysk shares.

“The fact that the government is once again considering an additional share placement instead of a sale to a strategic investor is negative for sentiment because it creates a share overhang risk,” Vladimir Dorogov, an analyst at Alfa Bank, said by phone from Moscow. “Also, investors are concerned that there may be a delay in the privatization.”

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