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15 Aug, 2007 15:22

Oil giant Yukos consigned to history

The two final assets of the former oil giant Yukos have gone under the hammer on Wednesday. Yukos Finance, the Dutch-based holding company of Yukos' foreign assets, and the receivables of the former oil major are gone with only formalities left before Yuk

The final auctions in the long carve-up of Yukos, once Russia's largest oil producer, ended with almost no surprises. Its foreign units owned by the Netherlands-based company Yukos Finance were taken by the little-known Promneftstroy for just over $US 300 MLN dollars. The winner faced competition from only one bidder, unknown firm Versar. The lot included a 49 percent stake in Slovakian pipeline operator Transpetrol, with unresolved legal issues surrounding Transpetrol's ownership , there was a low starting price to the sale of the assets.

The question of who the winner affiliates with still raises uncertainty.

Promneftstroi has been linked to Rosneft, but U.S.-based Monte-Valle later claimed it bought the company from Rosneft just before the auction. Konstantin Batunin from Alfa-Bank says bidding through Promneftstroi may have been the only option for Monte-Valle to take part in the auction.

“Probably Monte-Valle was wondering whether to participate in this auction or not and when it ultimately decided to participate in the auction, it realised that it didn't have the means to go ahead, because the procedure was too tough and it didn't have the time to apply for participation,” Konstantin Batunin, an oil and gas industry analyst from Alfa-Bank, commented.

Monte-Valle, known for operating in the Russian real estate market for a long time, already owns Yukos' energy assets in Russia's regions. And the string of auctions ended the way it started when Rosneft took the last lot, Yukos' receivables, for over $US 450 MLN. This helped make Rosneft the major beneficiary of the Yukos auction process, which has seen it become Russia's largest oil producer.

The auctions that have just taken place are the last in a series of auctions which sold off Yukos assets to pay off creditors. Eduard Rebgun, YUKOS bankruptcy commissioner, now has three months to finalise any paperwork involved in transferring the money raised to the company's creditors and the ongoing court cases. When it is done, the final chapter of the YUKOS saga is likely to be over.