Bloomberg News

Lithuanian Premier Discusses Mazeikiu Sale With Neste Oil CEO

March 01, 2006

Lithuanian Prime Minister Algirdas Brazauskas discussed the sale of Mazeikiu Nafta AB, operator of the only oil refinery in the Baltic states, with Neste Oil Oyj (NES1V) Chief Executive Officer Risto Rinne.

``They met and they spoke about the ongoing negotiations on Mazeikiu,'' Nemira Pumprickaite, Brazauskas's spokeswoman, said in an interview. She didn't comment further.

Yukos is selling its 54 percent of Mazeikiu in a struggle for survival after Russia seized and sold off its largest production unit to cover part of $28 billion in tax claims. Poland's PKN Orlen, Kazakhstan's KazMunaiGaz, and Russia's OAO Lukoil are among the companies interested.

Lithuania owns 41 percent of Mazeikiu and can use its right of first refusal to reject any purchaser before buying Yukos's stake itself. That would allow the government, which has said its goal is to protect Mazeikiu as a national interest, to sell up to around 95 percent of the company.

Osmo Kammonen, a spokesman at Espoo, Finland-based Neste, said there are no plans to bid for Mazeikiu and the talks between Rinne and Brazauskas were to gather information.

``We are not planning anything,'' Kammonen said in an interview. ``We want to understand what is going on and the best way to find out is to discuss'' it ``with the Lithuanians.''

To contact the reporter on this story: Alistair Holloway in Helsinki at aholloway1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Chris Kirkham at ckirkham@bloomberg.net.


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