23:39 GMT +323 March 2018
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    Auction date for Yukos Gazprom Neft shares expected soon

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    MOSCOW, March 1 (RIA Novosti) - The date for auctioning off Yukos's 20% stake in Gazprom Neft [RTS: SIBN], formerly Sibneft, could be announced as early as Saturday or next week, a spokesman for the oil company's bankruptcy receiver said.

    Under the original merger deal of October 2003 between the once two leading oil companies in Russia, Yukos gained 92% of Sibneft's shares, with the latter holding a 26% stake in Yukos. The merger was later canceled, and the court left Yukos with a 20% stake, which the company had acquired for $3 billion.

    "The date for auctioning off the Yukos-owned shares in Gazprom Neft could be announced Saturday in the Rossiiskaya Gazeta daily, but most probably it will happen next week," Nikolai Lashkevich said, adding that the announcement will be made following a meeting of Yukos's creditors committee, which could be held Thursday, Friday or Monday.

    Yukos's creditors committee has published the timetable for selling the oil company's assets.

    Bids will be accepted within 30 days before the auction, and foreigners will also be permitted to bid.

    The pledge totals 20% of the original price of every asset, and each step is 0.5-1% of the value.

    Sources close to the creditors' committee said the 20% in Gazprom Neft, where the rest of the shares belong to Russian energy giant Gazprom [RTS: GAZP], and 9.44% of shares in the state-controlled Rosneft [RTS: ROSN] would be the first to go on auction.

    Media reports have said the assessment of Yukos's share in Rosneft put the value at 182.3 billion rubles ($7 billion) in January, and the stake in Gazprom Neft at 105.5 billion rubles ($4 billion).

    The Russian Federal Property Fund began accepting applications Monday for an open auction to sell Yukos' 9.44% stake in Rosneft, which will be offered in a single lot, along with Yuganskneftegaz promissory notes worth 3.6 billion rubles (about $137.5 million).

    Applications will be accepted through March 23, and the auction will take place March 27. The lot's initial price is 195.5 billion rubles (about $7.5 billion), with a bid increment of 260 million rubles (about $9.9 million).

    Prospective bidders must deposit 39.1 billion rubles (about $1.5 billion) to participate in the auction.

    Once Russia's largest crude producer, Yukos was declared bankrupt August 1, 2006 after three years of litigation with authorities over tax arrears.

    The Yukos group, whose founder Mikhail Khodorkovsky is serving an eight-year prison term for fraud and tax evasion, now faces multi-billion dollar claims from creditors, including state-controlled oil company Rosneft, Rosneft-owned former production unit Yuganskneftegaz, the Federal Tax Service, and more than 20 other companies.

    A consortium of appraisers estimated Yukos assets at $22 billion. However, total claims from creditors against the company amount to around $26 billion.

    The Yukos creditors' committee set out February 20 the terms of the auctions to sell the company's assets.

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