"Now our focus is to complete the offset between Yukos and Sibneft. It is too early now to speak of what will occur later on," the head of the international media relations department of Sibneft, John Mann, told RIA Novosti on Friday.
He refused to confirm The Financial Times article that reports Roman Abramovich intends to sell half of his Sibneft shares. "Our company does not comment on market rumors," he said.
On Friday, The Financial Times reported that Mr. Abramovich is in talks with a foreign energy company to sell 46% of Sibneft.
The newspaper reported that talks on the issue were held with Royal Dutch/Shell, ChevronTexaco and Total.
The Financial Times reported that Mr. Abramovich would like to reach agreement with a new buyer before Sibneft's divorce with Yukos is complete. However, the newspaper's believes Mr. Abramovich is unlikely to reach an agreement on the sale before the completion of Sibneft and Yukos' divorce. Mr. Abramovich started seeking a buyer after the Arbitration Court of Moscow ruled that the additional issuance of Yukos shares was invalid, thereby satisfying the lawsuits filed by the former Sibneft shareholders.
On March 1, the Arbitration Court of Moscow ruled that the issuance of additional Yukos shares that occurred for merger with Sibneft was invalid. The newly issued shares were exchanged for 57.5% of Sibneft. Another 20% of Sibneft was bought for $3 billion, and 15% of the company was exchanged for 10% of Yukos.
Mr. Mann said, "upon the decision only 57% of the shares were returned to the Sibneft shareholders [Abramovich] and that Yukos still holds 35%. But there is an agreement between the companies' shareholders that the divorce will be completed."
He specified that the Sibneft shareholders must return $3 billion to YUKOS for 20% of Sibneft and exchange 15% for the old shares of Yukos.