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Yukos Board Chairman Hints at Possible Sale Off to Rosneft

Selling itself to state owned Rosneft Oil Companywould be a reasonable move for Yukos

Selling itself to state-owned Rosneft Oil Companywould be a ?reasonable? move for Yukos to make, Viktor Gerashchenko, the chairman of the financially troubled Russian oil company, said on Wednesday, June 21. Gerashchenko was talking to the company?s shareholders.

Gerashchenko also said that Yukos is in talks to sell its stake of around 20 percent in rival oil company Sibneft to state-controlled gas giant Gazprom, the Interfax agency reported. Gazprom already owns almost 80 percent of Sibneft, which it renamed into Gazpromneft. The state-controlled gas giant bought the company from billionaire Roman Abramovich for a record-high price of $13 billion.

Rosneft, which plans to list in London and Moscow as soon as next month, bought Yukos? main production asset, Yuganskneftegaz, at a forced state auction in December 2004. The unit was sold for about $9.5 billion, a price that was seen by the market as a knockdown. The transaction took place during the early stages of a judicial campaign against Yukos viewed as being masterminded by the Kremlin.

Speaking to the shareholders meeting, former chairman of Russia?s Central Bank and now Yukos? chairman Viktor Gerashchenko said: ?I believe that the most reasonable solution to existing situation would be direct sale of the whole Yukos to the state oil company Rosneft. It doesn?t matter how the acquisition would be financed. The Central Bank can even give credits to the state banks. It would be better for the country to preserve Yukos, to let it keep its levels of oil production and to save its specialists. And let Rosneft do whatever it deems necessary with it.?