Bloomberg News

Russia Clears Prana's $3.9 Billion Yukos Asset Bid

May 28, 2007

Russian antitrust authorities cleared the $3.9 billion bankruptcy sale of OAO Yukos Oil Co.'s Moscow headquarters and trading houses to OOO Prana, a company with undisclosed ownership that outbid state-run OAO Rosneft.

Prana's acquisition of the assets won't hinder competition, the Federal Anti-Monopoly Service said on its Web site today, without saying who owns Prana. The regulator said it received additional information about Prana last week after failing to find the company at the address listed on its application.

Russia has dismantled Yukos, once the country's biggest oil exporter, by selling its production, refining, retail and trading assets at forced auctions after claiming more than $30 billion in taxes and fines from Yukos and jailing former Chief Executive Officer Mikhail Khodorkovsky on fraud charges in 2003.

Rosneft, which has become the country's largest oil producer and refiner after acquiring Yukos's units, said it was still interested in buying the trading houses and Moscow real estate after losing the May 11 auction.

State-run OAO Gazprom isn't affiliated with Prana and didn't have Prana bid on its behalf, spokesman Sergei Kupriyanov said in an e-mailed response to questions on May 16.

OOO Yuniteks, another rival bidder, bought Yukos's filling stations in central Moscow today after gaining antitrust clearance last week, Nikolai Lashkevich, spokesman for Yukos's bankruptcy manager, said in an e-mailed statement today.

Yuniteks beat the local units of BP Plc and Royal Dutch Shell Plc with a bid of $483 million at the May 2 sale. Rosneft dropped out before the bidding started.

Yukos's bankruptcy manager, Eduard Rebgun, has raised more than $31.5 billion selling Yukos's assets. The company owes $27.4 billion to creditors, mostly to the tax service and Rosneft.

To contact the reporter on this story: Torrey Clark in Moscow at tclark8@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Daniel Tilles at dtilles@bloomberg.net.


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