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Gazprom Neft barred at Moscow Oil Refinery shareholders meeting

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MOSCOW, June 22 (RIA Novosti) - Representatives of Gazprom Neft, the oil company formerly known as Sibneft [RTS: SIBN], were kept out of the Moscow Oil Refinery annual shareholders' meeting Wednesday, the company's head said Thursday.

Gazprom Neft owns 38.83% of MOR's stake through its affiliates, while the Moscow city government owns 38% of the refinery's voting shares through the Moscow Oil and Gas Company (MOGC), headed by Moscow Mayor Yury Luzhkov.

"We were not allowed to attend the meeting," said Alexander Ryazanov, who is also Gazprom's deputy board chairman, adding that his company would defend its rights in court.

Ryazanov said the agenda of the annual meeting included approval of the company's 2005 annual report, distribution of dividends, appointment of a new board of directors and selection of an auditing company for 2006, but that the results of the meeting had not been disclosed.

Reports say the conflict between Gazprom and the Moscow city government over control of the refinery and assets issues has been running for some time.

On February 27, Luzhkov met with Alexei Miller, who heads Gazprom's management committee, to discuss management issues and recovery of MOGC's share in the Sibneft Yugra joint venture at the South Priobskoye oil fields in Western Siberia.

Russia's Supreme Arbitrage Court Tuesday made public a ruling of June 8, 2006, that rejected an appeal by MOR minority shareholders affiliated with the former Sibneft and Tatneft [RTS: TATN] to review two earlier lower court decisions that declared lawful the declaration of a dividend on MOR's preferred shares for 2004 as approved at the 2005 MOR Annual Shareholder Meeting, therefore leaving MOGC as the controlling shareholder of MOR.

Gazprom last year bought more than 75% in Sibneft, which was renamed Gazprom Neft in May 2006.

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