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22

Gazprom Liberalization Decree Signed

Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a Gazprom liberalization decree on Friday

Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a Gazprom liberalization decree on Friday, Dec. 23 instead of next Wednesday, Dec. 28, as was expected by Gazprom officials and market observers.

The president?s move opens up the way for the liberalization of the Gazprom share market and should help the national gas giant become one the world?s largest companies in terms of market capitalization.

Up until now foreign ownership of Gazprom shares was capped at 20 percent, but now that the Russian state brought its own holding in the gas monopoly to a controlling 51 percent, foreigners are allowed to own as much as the remaining 49 percent of Gazprom shares.

The company?s current market capitalization amounts to about $150 billion and it is expected that it will grow to about $300 billion after liberalization takes effect. Gazprom is the world?s single largest natural gas producer.