Lukoil is studying the possibility of selling the Swiss trader Litasco

The sale of Litasco may take place before the end of 2017; this will be the first step towards the sale of all foreign assets of the company. Lukoil is studying the possibilities of selling its Swiss oil trader Litasco due to sanctions that complicate the attraction of new funds.
Origin source
This is reported by Reuters, citing sources in the market. The transaction amount is unknown.

The sale of Litasco ("windows to the world" for Lukoil, as stated on the site of the oil trader) - may take place before the end of this year - this will be the first step towards the sale of all foreign assets of the company. The company is likely to concentrate on the development of oil fields in Siberia. "Lukoil" is on the US sanctions list since 2014, but it is not forbidden to sell assets. Oil trading, when a standard cargo costs more than $ 50 million, is a capital-intensive business that requires trading houses to have tens of billions of dollars of credit lines available to dozens of global banks.

"Sanctions are one of the reasons that pushed the company to sell. The sale will also help attract a significant portion of working capital from trading activities to Russian exploration and production projects in Russia, "a source in Reuters said.

According to the second interlocutor Reuters, after the sale the company can catch up with the world leaders - "gradually Litasco will become an independent trading house, such as Vitol or Trafigura".

The main buyer of Russian oil Litasco is a unique phenomenon for the Russian oil business. It seems that this is the only oil trader of Russian origin, which not only sells foreign oil and oil products, but also does it in volumes comparable to the supplies of related companies. Litasco ranks first in the ranking of the largest buyers of Russian oil under the Forbes version. The trading company "Lukoil" maintains this status for the second consecutive year: in 2017 the volume of purchases amounted to 32.9 million tons, a year earlier - 35.8 million tons. In 2004, 28% of Litasco trade fell on third parties, in 2008 - 40%, and two years later, already 52%. In 2015, this ratio was 51 to 49 in favor of Lukoil.

At the turn of 1990-2000, all the world's oil giants created separate trading divisions, and Lukoil was no exception. In 2002, it decided to consolidate export deliveries to the Swiss subsidiary Litasco. To this end, the management of Lukoil chose the Swiss Lukoil-Geneva, another 2000 renamed Litasco (Lukoil International Trading and Supply Company). The choice of headquarters in Geneva was explained by the loyal tax laws of Switzerland.

Creation of own trading division was not cheap pleasure, told Forbes earlier one of sources close to "Lukoil": investments in capital Litasco and guarantees to banks were about $ 7-10 billion. At creation Litasco the task was set that the factor ROI (the ratio of profit to Investments) reached 15%, but this did not happen immediately. The volume of Lukoil exports increased gradually: In 2005, the trader sold 87% of Lukoil's exported oil, in 2011 - remained the same level. Now Litasco takes over all the deliveries of Lukoil outside of Russia.