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Rosneft Stake Privatization Proceeds May Not Go Straight To Russia’s Budget

The US$11 billion in proceeds which Russia expects to reap from the privatization of 19.5 percent in oil giant Rosneft might not end up in government coffers straight away, Bloomberg reports, quoting people with knowledge on the matter.

The money is expected to first go to Rosneftegaz, the government-owned holding group that is selling the stake and is majority shareholder of Rosneft.

After having delayed in August Rosneft’s privatization due to low oil prices, Russia’s government authorized in early November the beginning of the privatization of 19.5 percent of Rosneftegaz’s shares in Rosneft. Rosneftegaz currently holds 69.5 percent in Rosneft.

In the government decree from November, Russia set the deadline for the deal for December 5, 2016, and the deadline for transaction with the buyer for December 15. The decree also stipulates that the proceeds be transferred to the federal budget by December 31, 2016.

Rosneft itself is expected to have bought the shares of Rosneftegaz, to sell them later to another investor.

Meanwhile, Russia’s government has been waiting for years to get the money from the previous Rosneft share sale—which Rosneftegaz is holding, Bloomberg quoted Sberbank CIB analyst Alexey Bulgakov as saying.

“Given this, it is unclear to us why the government thinks it will be able to get the proceeds from this one,” Bulgakov said in a report, as quoted by Bloomberg.

According to Bloomberg, Rosneftegaz is retaining cash to pay dividends and invest in selected projects more than it is transferring money to the federal budget. In addition, close ties between Vladimir Putin and Rosneft CEO Igor Sechin lead to Rosneftegaz being accountable mostly to Putin and Sechin, Bloomberg’s sources say.

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Nevertheless, the Kremlin is confident that it will receive the proceeds from the Rosneft privatization for the budget on December 15, Interfax news agency quoted Kremlin press secretary Dmitry Peskov as saying on Monday.

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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