Putin Inks 'Largest Oil Deal in Russia's History' Despite Western Sanctions

For Qatar and Glencore, the lure of taking share in Rosneft, one of the world's biggest oil companies, outweighs the risks associated with Western sanctions.

Reuters
Reuters
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Russia's President Vladimir Putin (L) meets with Rosneft CEO Igor Sechin at the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia December 7, 2016.
Russia's President Vladimir Putin (L) meets with Rosneft CEO Igor Sechin at the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia December 7, 2016. Credit: Reuters
Reuters
Reuters

Russian state holding company Rosneftegaz on Saturday signed a deal with the Qatar Investment Authority and commodities trader Glencore to sell a 19.5 percent stake in state-owned oil major Rosneft, Rosneft said.

The privatization deal, which Rosneft Chief Executive Igor Sechin called the largest in Russia's history, was announced by Rosneft in a meeting with President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday.

Its success suggests the lure of taking a share in one of the world's biggest oil companies outweighs the risks associated with Western sanctions imposed on Russia over the conflict in Ukraine.

Rosneft had been under pressure to secure a sale of the 19.5 percent stake to help replenish state coffers, hit by an economic slowdown driven by weak oil prices and exacerbated by sanctions.

Rosneft said in a statement the budget would receive 710.8 billion rubles ($11.37 billion) from the sale, including 18.4 billion rubles in additional dividends from Rosneftegaz.

It said the additional dividends were due to a change in its dividend policy, according to which it will pay at least 35 percent of net profit according to international accounting standards in payouts twice a year.

Rosneft confirmed that Italian bank Intesa Sanpaolo was a major creditor for the deal and said it would be closed by the middle of December.

A Rosneft source said Intesa and a syndicate of four or five key banks would provide 7 billion euros of financing.

The Italian lender will provide "significantly over 50 percent" of the financing, while Glencore will hedge the bulk of its stake in Rosneft, the source added.

Sechin called QIA and Glencore "strategic investors" and said he was confident their work together would lead to synergies for Rosneft.

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