Novatek/Yamal LNG: oil trader Timchenko's last bold moves
Gennady Timchenko, the world's most powerful independent trader of Russian oil, has increased his stake in Russian gas company OAO Novatek (NVTK.RS) to 18.2%, his Luxembourg-based fund Volga Resources SICAV-SIF S.A. said late Wednesday.
In the mean time, the Finnish businessman traded part of his stake in Yamal LNG with Novatek in a massive $650 million move.
According to Volga's statement, Timchenko has bought a 13.13% stake in Novatek from Cartagena Development Inc., which is indirectly controlled by Novatek's management.
Timchenko was also elected to the board of Novatek Wednesday.
The companies didn't disclose financial details of the deal, but said that it was based on the market price. Based on the current price of Novatek shares, the deal was worth about $1.5 billion.
Novatek is Russia's second-largest gas producer after the state monopoly OAO Gazprom (GAZP.RS). Gazprom has a 19% stake in Novatek.
Geneva-based Timchenko is one of the founders of the Gunvor Group, now one of the world's top players in selling and transporting Russian oil.
Novatek also said Tuesday it would acquire a 51% stake in Yamal LNG, the operator of the big South-Tambeyskoye gas condensate field, from companies affiliated with Volga Resources.
Despite a Volga spokesman's statement Thursday,quoted by Russian news agencies, that the two deals were not related, Moscow-based KIT Finance said in a note Thursday that these two consecutive deals look like an asset swap, whereby "Timchenko has exchanged the upstream asset (Yamal LNG) for the stake in Novatek."
"Novatek will get the license on the giant South-Tambei field as well as potential support from its shareholder, Timchenko, who is a known and powerful person within the Russian oil and gas sector," KIT added.
Novatek GDRs were up 2.4% at $45.05 in London at 0840 GMT.
Russian gas firm Novatek (NVTK.MM) will make a $650 million acquisition of gas firm Yamal LNG in cash, its chief financial officer said on Wednesday, denying media reports it may make the payment in its shares.
"It is a cash deal... in several tranches. The first tranche will probably be next week," said Novatek's CFO Mark Gyetvay adding that the remaining sum could be raised from the debt market.
Kommersant business daily quoted unnamed source on Wednesday as saying Novatek could grant $650 million worth of its shares to businessman Gennady Timchenko for his 51 percent stake in Yamal LNG.