MOSCOW, October 23 (RIA Novosti)
Shares in TNK-BP Holding plunged in Tuesday afternoon trading following Rosneft CEO Igor Sechin’s dividend policy statements, Moscow Exchange data suggests.
The holding is the main asset in TNK-BP, which state-controlled oil company Rosneft is set to acquire from BP and Russian billionaire shareholders. As of 1:42 p.m. Moscow time (09:42 GMT), TNK-BP Holding’s ordinary stock fell by 4.5 percent and preferred stock by 8.9 percent compared with a MICEX index fall of 0.6 percent.
The head of Rosneft, which will consolidate about 95 percent of TNK-BP Holding, said the company would decide on TNK-BP dividend payments taking into account the interests of Rosneft’s shareholders.
“Our top priority is to consolidate this asset. As soon as this happens, this will not be TNK-BP and therefore it is incorrect to ask whether Rosneft will continue the TNK-BP shareholders’ dividend policy. Rosneft has its own shareholders, its management, which will decide on these issues in accordance with its powers in a way beneficial for our shareholders,” Sechin said.
TNK-BP’s dividend policy envisaged payouts of at least 40 percent of the company’s IFRS net profits.
With the acquisition of TNK-BP, Rosneft may halve TNK-BP’s dividends from the current 40 percent, head of the Probusinessbank department for large clients Yevgeny Volkov said.
Rosneft is not currently discussing the issue of buying out the stakes of minority shareholders in TNK-BP Holding. Even if this buyout takes place, minority shareholders would be unwise to expect a large premium on the market price, traders said.
“That is why some have decided to sell their shares. And since the market is illiquid, with the free float not exceeding 5 percent, the share prices [in TNK-BP Holding] have plunged,” Volkov said.
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