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    Rosneft to buy former Yukos filling stations for $630 mln

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    Russia's state-controlled oil giant Rosneft [RTS: ROSN] said Tuesday its subsidiary Neft-Aktiv would purchase a network of filling stations owned until recently by bankrupt oil company Yukos for 16.3 billion rubles ($630 million).

    MOSCOW, June 26 (RIA Novosti) - Russia's state-controlled oil giant Rosneft [RTS: ROSN] said Tuesday its subsidiary Neft-Aktiv would purchase a network of filling stations owned until recently by bankrupt oil company Yukos for 16.3 billion rubles ($630 million).

    Hundreds of filling stations and related infrastructure in the European and southern parts of Russia were bought at a Yukos liquidation auction in May by the previously-unknown company Unitex, believed to be affiliated with Russia's largest independent natural gas producer Novatek.

    Rosneft said Neft-Aktiv signed an agreement Tuesday with Unitex on buying the network of 495 filling stations.

    Neft-Aktiv also signed an agreement with the Yukos bankruptcy administrator to purchase "Lot No. 9" of the company's assets for 4.9 billion rubles (about $189 million). The lot includes more than 100 filling stations in southern Russia, including 100% of shares in Stavropolnefteprodukt, Rosneft said.

    "The acquisition of these enterprises will enable Rosneft to become a leader in the growing and attractive oil product retail market in Russia, providing the additional benefits of vertical integration and improved financial and operating performance," Rosneft said in a statement.

    Unitex bought Yukos's filling station network for 12.46 billion rubles (about $484 million), compared to the auction's starting price of 7.7 billion rubles ($299 million). However, analysts have put a much higher value on the assets. The ownership structure of Unitex has not been revealed by either the company or authorities.

    The situation is similar to a deal in December 2004, when Rosneft bought Yukos's former core production unit, Yuganskneftegaz, from another unknown company, Baikal Finance Group, which had acquired the assets at an auction a few days previously.

    Yukos, once Russia's largest oil company, was declared bankrupt August 1, 2006, after three years of litigation with tax authorities over tax arrears.

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