Topic: Gazprom Anti-Trust Probe
MOSCOW, September 5 (RIA Novosti)
Gazprom shares fell 2 percent with its capitalization down $2 billion Wednesday on news of an EU probe over concerns that the Russian natural gas giant might be hindering competition in Central and Eastern European gas markets, in breach of EU antitrust rules.
The European Commission said on Tuesday it has concerns that Gazprom “may be abusing its dominant market position in upstream gas supply markets in Central and Eastern European Member States, in breach of Article 102 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union.”
The report undercut Gazprom’s Wednesday quotes, said Andrei Vernikov, deputy director for investment analysis at Zurich Capital Management.
“The investigation impedes access to the end consumer in Europe - Gazprom’s goal,” he said, adding that over the next several days share dynamics will be “below market.”
Some analysts believe Gazprom will be able to reach an out-of-court settlement before multibillion fines and claims are formally filed against it, making some concessions on sales and prices.
“This is the most likely scenario,” Troika Dialog’s Oleg Maksimov said.
“The bad news is that the investigation could drag on for years. However, there is no cause for panic.”
The European Commission is investigating three suspected anti-competitive practices in Central and Eastern Europe.
“First, Gazprom may have divided gas markets by hindering the free flow of gas across Member States. Second, Gazprom may have prevented the diversification of supply of gas. Finally, Gazprom may have imposed unfair prices on its customers by linking the price of gas to oil prices,” the EC said.
Such behavior may constitute a restriction of competition and lead to higher prices and deterioration of security of supply, ultimately harming EU consumers, it said.
The EU said it will treat the Gazprom case as a matter of priority.
Add to blog
You may place this material on your blog by copying the link.
Image Galleries: Yury Gagarin: A down-to-earth person
Infographics: The Linguistic Diversity of the Planet
Ukraine has not preserved its 1991 borders. The signing of the Geneva memorandum on April 17 reaffirmed the willingness of Russia, the United States and EU countries to reach a compromise. While the sides continue to trade tough talk and symbolic sanctions, the Kremlin and the White House are also holding a parallel dialogue on the coordinated geopolitical revision of Eastern Europe.