Russia 090421 Basic Political Developments


Surgut 'faces MOL lock-out'



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Surgut 'faces MOL lock-out'


http://www.upstreamonline.com/live/article176353.ece
News wires

Russian producer Surgutneftegaz, which recently bought a 21% stake in MOL, may be locked out of the Hungarian players, annual general meeting, according to local media reports.

Surgut bought the stake from Austrian oil company OMV for €1.4 billion ($1.8 billion) in a surprise move last month, earning the ire of both MOL and Hungary's government.

Today, Budapest-based business daily Napi Gazdasag published a report saying Surgut breached Hungarian law by failing to notify the Hungarian Energy Office of the deal, which could result in Surgut being unable to exercise its voting rights at MOL's AGM on Thursday.

The Hungarian Energy Office declined tyo comment to Reuters, while MOL said it could not comment on individual shareholders.

Earlier this month, MOL proposed amendments to its articles of association which analysts said were designed as a defence against hostile takeovers.

According to a planned amendment, shareholders must declare who the "ultimate beneficial owner" of their shares is before their meetings, if requested by MOL's board of directors.

Other proposed amendments would strengthen the special voting rights of the "B" series MOL share and delete the section which says that the special rights exist only if the share is held by the Hungarian state.

Tuesday, 21 April, 2009, 07:57 GMT  | last updated: Tuesday, 21 April, 2009, 07:57 GMT


Surgut may be locked out of MOL's AGM –report


http://www.reuters.com/article/rbssOilGasRefiningMarketing/idUSLL68494520090421
Tue Apr 21, 2009 3:34am EDT

BUDAPEST, April 21 (Reuters) - Russian Surgutneftegaz (SNGS.MM: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz), which recently bought 21 percent of MOL (MOLB.BU: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz), may be locked out of the Hungarian oil and gas company's annual general meeting, business daily Napi Gazdasag reported.

Surgut, Russia's fourth biggest oil producer, bought the stake in MOL from Austrian oil company OMV (OMVV.VI: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) for 1.4 billion euros ($1.8 billion) in a surprise move last month, earning the ire of both MOL and Hungary's government. [ID:nLU169740]

The paper said Surgut breached Hungarian legislation by failing to notify the Hungarian Energy Office of the deal, which could result in Surgut being unable to exercise its voting rights at MOL's AGM on Thursday.

The Hungarian Energy Office would not comment, while MOL said it could not comment on individual shareholders.

Earlier this month, MOL proposed amendments to its articles of association which analysts said were designed as a defence against hostile takeovers.

According to a planned amendment, shareholders must declare who the "ultimate beneficial owner" of their shares is before their meetings, if requested by MOL's board of directors. Other proposed amendments would strengthen the special voting rights of the "B" series MOL share and delete the section which says that the special rights exist only if the share is held by the Hungarian state.

At 0713 GMT, MOL stock traded down 0.7 percent at 10,670 forints on the Budapest Stock Exchange, broadly in line with losses in the wider market .BUX. (Reporting by Gergely Szakacs; Editing by Dan Lalor) ($1 = 0.7748 euro)



Hungary suspects Surgutneftegaz of planning to block Nabucco project

http://en.rian.ru/analysis/20090420/121216125.html

Kommersant

Hungarian politicians consider the acquisition of a 21.2% stake in oil and gas company MOL by Russia's Surgutneftegaz as an attempt to hinder the implementation of the Nabucco gas pipeline project, where Hungary is a partner.

The Russian company will be unable to influence decision-making at MOL, but will gain access to confidential information on the Nabucco project, planned to transport Central Asian gas to Europe bypassing Russia.

Surgutneftegaz closed the deal to buy the stake in MOL from Austria's OMV last week. MOL owns 16.6% in the Nabucco Pipeline Consortium, also comprising OMV, Germany's RWE, Turkish Botas, Bulgarian Bulgargaz and Romanian Transgas.

Zsolt Nemeth, head of the Hungarian parliament's foreign affairs committee, said Surgut bought a stake in MOL to get access to the Nabucco project. He said the Russian company's goal was to limit investment in the project and to give competitive advantage to Gazprom's South Stream.

A possible conflict of interest within the Nabucco project is increasing tensions created by the MOL deal. Surgut, which paid 1.4 billion euros for the stake, plans to process its crude at Hungarian refineries. However, MOL's managers said they consider Surgut only as an investor and are refusing to pay 2008 dividends.

An extraordinary meeting of the MOL shareholders scheduled for April 23 will consider changes in the company's charter that will oblige nominal shareholders to disclose their beneficiaries.

On April 9, the Russian Foreign Ministry said the Hungarian authorities' statements were aimed at "adding a non-existent political element to the actions of economic operators."

However, Valery Nesterov of Troika Dialog said that Surgut could not have made the decision to buy into MOL without the Russian authorities' approval "in the light of their traditionally conservative policy regarding acquisitions in Europe."

Lev Snykov of VTB Capital said Russia could not use MOL to block the construction of the Nabucco pipeline. The only thing Surgut can do is nominate a candidate for MOL's board of directors and thereby gain access to insider information regarding Nabucco.

APRIL 20, 2009, 11:57 A.M. ET

Russia's TNK-BP Seeks $300M Pre-Export Loan - Sources


http://online.wsj.com/article/BT-CO-20090420-711156.html
Of DOW JONES NEWSWIRES

LONDON (Dow Jones)--BP PLC's (BP.LN) Russian joint venture TNK-BP Holding (TNBP.RS) is seeking to obtain a three-year $300 million pre-export finance facility from several international banks, people familiar with the matter told Dow Jones Newswires Monday.

According to the people, ING Bank N.V. and Unicredit S.P.A (UCG.MI) have joined Calyon and Deutsche Bank AG (DB) in arranging the facility.

Pricing is likely to be in the region of 400 basis points to 500 basis points over Libor, the people said. The facility is expected to be syndicated in due course, one of the people said.

For most of 2008 TNK-BP was locked in a bitter dispute between BP and its Russian partners over corporate governance and strategy. However, the parties resolved the dispute in September clearing the way for raising financing.

"Such a loan, although relatively cheap, limits a company's flexibility, but, probably, now, when the credit window has opened a little for Russian oil companies', it's the best moment to seek such a loan", analyst Mikhail Zanozin at UralSib bank said.

Pre-export finance comprises loans advanced against confirmed orders from a foreign buyer or buyers to enable the exporter to make and supply ordered goods, in this case oil. This facility therefore is a more secure form of lending for banks.

As Dow Jones Newswires reported in March, Russia's major oil companies OAO Rosneft (ROSN.RS), OAO Lukoil (LKOH.RS), OAO Gazprom Neft (SIBN.RS) and OAO Tatneft (TATN.RS) are also separately in talks with different consortiums of international banks to agree pre-export loan facilities, which may collectively total $4.6 billion.

None of the deals has been concluded as yet.

-By Alexander Kolyandr and Carol Dean in London, Dow Jones Newswires; +44 (0)20 78429410; alexander.kolyandr@dowjones.com





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