Russia plans IPO of the largest oil shipper

The oil tanker Troitsky Bridge in St. Petersburg for Sovkomflot shipping company. (RIA Novosti/Igor Mikhalev)
The Russian Government has announced plans to sell as much as 25% minus one share of the country’s largest shipping company Sovcomflot provided it receives a suitable offer.

“If there is a company in Singapore, which is interested in a deal like this, and the offered price as well as other conditions suits us, and an investor is going to buy the whole stock, we would consider this,” Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov said during a meeting of Russian-Singaporean Commission.

The government has also decided to provide half of money from the IPO to Sovcomflot, which specializes in petroleum and LNG shipping, for further development, Vedomosti Daily reports.

“We agreed with Ministry of Economic Development and Ministry of Trade that up to 50% of the money from the stock sale will be provided to the company for ship building… That’s why the price is expected to be high”, Shuvalov added.

The Deputy PM stressed the government didn’t set any deadline for Sovcomflot’s initial offering. The stock will be listed as market conditions become suitable. Further details of the sale would be managed by Deutsche Bank AG, which is in charge for Sovcomflot’s IPO.

Earlier this year Russia’s Minister of Economic Development Andrey Belousov announced plans to undertake the IPO of Sovcomflot in November or at the latest February of 2013. The initial price tag for Sovlomflot’s stock was about $804.4 million.

The government has been considering the sale of a controlling stake of Sovcomflot, which is 100% owned by the state, in two stages. “At first we plan to sell 25% minus one share stock, then 25% plus one share stock. I hope the deals would follow each other,” Shuvalov explained.

JSC Sovcomflot, founded in 1995, is one of the world’s leading energy transporters. It consists of 156 vessels. Currently the company employs 5700 people at sea and 2200 on-shore personnel.