Gazprom has started talks with Polish Gas-Trading S.A. on “the possibility of a purchase” of 2 percent of shares in Europol Gaz (the owner of the Polish segment of the Yamal-Europe pipeline), a Gazprom representative said according to the Russian daily Vedomosti. The goal of the deal is to bring Gazprom’s share in Europol to 50 percent, the source added without disclosing further details.Experts shy away from valuing Europol, saying too little information on the company is available. According to Gazprom, the value of net assets in the joint company as of September 30, 2009 was near $1.4 billion, while the entire company was worth about $1 billion, says Bank Moskvy analyst Denis Borisov; in other words, 2 percent of the company is worth approximately $20 million.
The main goal behind the deal is to fulfill instructions issued by Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin: these instructions were recently published on the Russian government’s website together with an intergovernmental protocol with Poland. According to the document, Gazprom and Poland’s PGNiG the main shareholders in Europol – were to begin carrying out the plan to bring their stakes in Europol to 50 percent by April 1. By May 1, they are to amend the foundation documents for the joint enterprise so that all decisions are made unanimously. Currently, Gazprom’s effective stake in Europol Gaz is 48.6 percent, while PGNiG holds 49.7 percent. Directly, each company controls 48 percent. The other 4 percent is held by Gas-Trading S.A. whose shareholders include: PGNiG (43.41 percent), Aleksandr Gudzobaty’s PHZ Bartimpex (36.17 percent), Gazprom eksport (15.88 percent), and Weglokoks and Wintershall Erdgas Handelshaus which each (2.27 percent each).