BP plans to sell TNK stake after unhappy Russian experience

Oil giant BP (British Petroleum)

British oil company says it will pursue a sale of Russian assets after receiving 'unsolicited indications of interest'

LAST UPDATED AT 09:27 ON Fri 1 Jun 2012

AFTER YEARS of reportedly frosty relations with its oligarch partners, BP has announced it plans to sell its share of the joint Russian venture TNK-BP.

BP unveiled its plans in a statement, saying it had received "unsolicited indications of interest" in its 50 per cent shareholding, The Independent reports.

TNK-BP is the product of a merger between the British company's Russian assets and four Russian oligarchs, one of whom, Mikhail Fridman, resigned as CEO this week, saying that the structure of the company no longer suits the interests of all parties.
 
"Everything is possible and realistic," he said. "We are open to proposals. There are a lot of different options."

The BBC's Robert Peston said that BP's experience with its Russian partners, whose stake in TNK-BP is held by the company Alfa, Access/Renova group (AAR), had been marked by two characteristics: billions of dollars in dividends for the British company and "appalling relations" with its billionaire oligarch partners.

On who might be behind the unsolicited buy-out offer, he added: "I understand that one of these approaches is from an unnamed Russian state business, which might offer cash and shares for the TNK-BP stake."

Russian oil company Rosneft last year offered to buy out AAR for £20 billion. However, it now emerges that AAR could buy out BP.

Peston continues: "The Russian billionaires, led by Mikhail Fridman, have also suggested to BP they would perhaps be prepared to buy the British company's stake." · 

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