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Wednesday, February 20, 2008

LUKoil completes deal to buy RussNeft's filling stations

MOSCOW, February 15 (RIA Novosti) - LUKoil [RTS: LKOH], Russia's largest independent crude producer, said on Friday it had closed a deal to acquire around 150 filling stations from RussNeft, the country's seventh biggest oil firm. Under the deal, LUKoil acquired 122 filling stations in Moscow and the Moscow Region and 26 filling stations in the Pskov, Novgorod, Kaluga and Rostov Regions in northwestern, central and southern Russia with annual sales output of more than 300,000 metric tons of fuel, LUKoil said. RussNeft's shares were frozen in September as part of a criminal probe into the company's former owner, Mikhail Gutseriyev, who is currently being sought by Russian authorities on a variety of charges, including fraud and tax evasion. Gutseriyev has denied the charges. When the allegations were first announced, Gutseriyev said he had no plans to sell the company or move his assets overseas, but later said he would pass control of the holding to a new owner capable of resolving RussNeft's problems.

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