Russia to sell 3.37 % of Gazprom

Aug 26, 1999 02:00 AM

The Russian government will sell 3.37 % of Gazprom, the world's largest natural gas producer and the country's biggest of tax revenue, an official said.
The announcement came as the government won an extra seat on Gazprom's board, after an extraordinary general meeting in which shareholders disbanded the board of directors and elected a new one.
Several Russian media outlets had reported in recent weeks that a group of Kremlin advisers known as "The Family," said to have strong influence over President Boris Yeltsin, was seeking to win control over Gazprom's billion-dollar cash flow.
The government now has five of 11 seats on the board of Gazprom. The remaining six seats are controlled by Gazprom executives and allies of the company. Former prime minister Viktor Chernomyrdin, a Yeltsin ally, retained his position as chairman of the Gazprom board. Rem Vyakhirev, who oversees 35 % of the company on behalf of the government, also retained his seat.

The government currently owns 38.37 %of the company, which contributed a fifth of the government's tax income revenue last year. Yeltsin signed a decree in July fixing government ownership at 35 %. State Property Minister Farit Gazizulin announced that the government is planning to sell the other 3.37 %.
Gazizulin, one of the government's representatives on the Gazprom board, provided no further information about the sale, such as whether foreign investors will be allowed to bid.
The government will remain the company's largest shareholder. The rest of the shares are held by Gazprom itself and by private investors. German gas giant Ruhrgas is the largest foreign shareholder, with 4 % of Gazprom stock.

Source: AP
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