ConocoPhillips officially announced on March 24 that the company plans to sell half of its 20 percent stake in LUKOIL. Conoco executives said that over the next two years, the company will sell 10 percent of LUKOIL shares as part of its financial improvement plan to sell $10 billion worth of assets. Meanwhile, LUKOIL executives said they to not intend to purchase the shares. Earlier this week, LUKOIL President Vagit Alekperov said it did not make sense for LUKOIL to buy back Conoco’s shares; however, LUKOIL Chairman of the Board Valery Graifer said the company should purchase them. Reuters reported that LUKOIL’s third largest shareholder, Vice President Leonid Fedun who own 9.25 percent in the company, leaned away from a buy back.
“I cannot say that we are not interested in buying our shares, but we have to base things on our financial abilities”, Fedun said on Wednesday adding that spending funds to buy back shares could be “viewed extremely negatively by political leaders” in Russia given the need to invest in drilling and production. Bank Moskvy values LUKOIL’s net debt at $9 billion as of the end of 2009.