Novatek to bid for Yukos assets

Just one day before the first auction of Yukos' assets, Russia's Novatek appears willing to enter the bidding war.

Novatek – Russia's largest independant gas producer – may also bid for a 20% stake in Gazpromneft.

Novatek would need to make a deposit of more than a billion dollars to participate in the auction.

Analysts say that IF Novatek wins the auction it could develop gas reserves with a partner – possibly Italy's ENI – and sell the Gazpromneft shares to Gazprom.

But experts doubt that Novatek has any real chances of winning the auction.

“Today there is news that Novatek may bid in a team with Gazprom for some of the auction. You may see a bit of bouyance in Novatek's stock prices because some people say they may be the favourite vehicle for Gazprom in the auction. I do not personally think that is the case. TNK-BP is also supposed to be bidding in the auction. You cannot have the auction without competition. So a lot of people think that other companies involvement can help legitimise the proceeding that are going to take place,” says Michael Teagarden, sales trader of Metropol IFC.