ENI NOT TO JOIN YUKOS MINORITY HOLDERS

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ROME, November 10 (RIA Novosti's Sergei Startsev) - The Italian-based ENI oil-and-gas group has no intention to join minority holders of Russia's Yukos petroleum mammoth, says Vittorio Mincato, ENI authorised manager.

He rules out minority stock acquisition unless it will ensure the ENI an industrial role in the concern, Signor Mincato said to a news conference in Milan as he was summing up group activities for the year's first nine months.

The ENI may develop an interest in the Russian oil-and-gas sector, and invest in it-but the group is not at all anxious for purely financial participation, merely to place money, stressed the manager.

As an informed officer of the ENI headquarters said to Novosti, the Italian giant is not negotiating to purchase Yukos stock, though it retains eager and long-established interest in partnership with Russia.

Today, Novosti interviewed Victor Geraschenko, Yukos Directors' Board chair, in Hong Kong. He says the ENI may find itself among Yukos holders in case Mikhail Khodorkovsky chooses to pass his block to the company for sale. The ENI has chance for a considerable block-but by no means for control stock.

The ENI looks forward to acquiring stock of another Russian mammoth, the Gasprom, it has been rumoured for several weeks now in circles with interests and connections in Italian energy companies. No comment has come from the ENI for today.

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