Gazprom Rises Most in Month on Sechin Interest: Moscow Mover

OAO Gazprom jumped the most in a month after a report that OAO Rosneftegaz chairman Igor Sechin wants to buy at least 8.2 billion rubles ($267 million) of shares in Russia’s natural gas exporter on the market.

The shares rose as much as 3.4 percent and traded up 2.8 percent at 141.07 rubles by 5 p.m. in Moscow, the biggest gain since Feb. 13. That raised the state-controlled company’s market value to 3.34 trillion rubles. The 50-stock Micex Index gained 0.2 percent.

Sechin sent President Vladimir Putin a letter, seeking to use 127.5 billion rubles from the sale of OAO Rosneft shares to BP Plc for the state holding company’s investment program, Izvestia said today, citing an unidentified person in the presidential administration. Rosneftegaz, which owns the government’s stake in Rosneft and some Gazprom shares, plans additional, large-scale investments in the gas producer, the newspaper reported.

“Gazprom has been under pressure due to huge questions about the European market,” Constantine Cherepanov, an analyst at UBS in Moscow, said by phone today. “The stock’s been oversold and the market is reacting now that we have Sechin potentially stepping in as a buyer.”

Sechin is also chief executive officer of Rosneft.

Gazprom is struggling to maintain its share of European markets against cheaper spot-gas prices and Norwegian supplies, damping its shares. The Moscow-based company reduced shipments to its most profitable market by 7 percent last year, and recognized 133 billion rubles in retroactive discounts for European customers under long-term contracts in the first nine months of 2012.

Rosneft is buying TNK-BP from BP and its billionaire partners for a total of about $55 billion, Russia’s biggest ever deal. As part of the transaction, BP agreed to use $4.8 billion of its proceeds to buy 5.66 percent of Rosneft from Rosneftegaz.

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