Rosneft does not believe ALROSA

The oil company no longer wants to buy the gas assets of the diamond miner.
On the gas assets of ALROSA with a minimum price of 30 billion rubles. left two applicants. In the morning of 9 January it became known that the structure of Gazprombank "Status" LLC wants to participate in the auction for their sale, by that time it was already aware of the applications of NOVATEK and the structures of "Rosneft". But in the end, the oil company, which criticized the terms of the auction, refused to participate. If this decision is confirmed, the second attempt by Rosneft to buy Alrosa's gas assets will fail. At the same time, the oil company has the opportunity to disrupt the auction or to challenge its results.

By the evening of January 9, the intrigue around the auction for the sale of ALROSA's gas assets announced at the end of December escalated. In the morning, the Federal Antimonopoly Service (FAS) announced receipt of an application for their purchase from Gazprombank's OOO Status. A similar application was submitted by NOVATEK, and the Rosneft press service reported that it also filed a petition on behalf of its subsidiary Bashneft. According to Mikhail Leontiev, the spokesman for Rosneft, as early as in 2017, Rosneft's two other subsidiaries, RN-Holding and RN-Gas, filed the applications (although the FAS did not confirm receipt of these applications yet).

The auction should be held on February 19, the initial price - 30 billion rubles., The step of the auction - 100 million rubles. On the afternoon of January 9, it seemed that the circle of candidates for gas assets of ALROSA was formed: the deadline for granting a deposit for participation in the auction in the amount of 21 billion rubles. expires on January 10. Rosneft did not comment on whether a deposit was made. Sources of Kommersant said that it is planned to list it before January 10. Rosneft spokesman Mikhail Leontiev explained to Kommersant that the company intends to follow the rules of the auction, despite the fact that it considers its terms "incorrect and opaque." "We confirm our interest in the asset and exclude the possibility of claims to Rosneft related to the violation of the application," he said.

However, after several hours the position of the company changed dramatically. Around 21:00 Moscow time Mr. Leontiev told Interfax that Rosneft would not participate in the auction. "According to the expert assessment (since no one gives us a reliable estimate of the assets being sold), so, according to experts, we have reason to trust, a significant part of the reserves on these assets will have to be written off," the news agency quoted him. These conditions we can not risk the interests of shareholders and participate in such an adventure. If someone wants to eat three times already eaten soup, then you are welcome, without us. "

Rosneft already tried to buy ALROSA's gas assets in 2014, but the companies did not agree on the price. So now Rosneft, according to Mikhail Leontiev, will not transfer the deposit, "unless something improbable happens overnight."

However, the conflict around the auction on this may not end. Rosneft publicly expressed dissatisfaction with the terms of the auction, in particular the terms of the grant and the amount of the deposit, as well as the fact that the auction winner will not be able to present any claims to the seller on the quality of the acquired asset. The company filed a complaint about the conditions of the auction in the FAS, and its receipt, unlike the application for participation in the auction, the service confirmed, promising to consider before the end of January. To withdraw the complaint even against the refusal to participate in the auction, Rosneft does not intend to, Mikhail Leontiev told Kommersant. On the question of whether the company will otherwise contest the conditions of the auction, he did not respond. ALROSA's Kommersant was not provided with an operative comment, Gazprombank declined to comment.

If Rosneft does not really claim ALROSA's assets and does not interfere with the auction, NOVATEK is the most likely winner. LLC "Status" regularly participates in major auctions for the sale of oil and gas assets or licenses, but for many years it has not won any of them. In particular, in 2013, "Status" lost to NOVATEK for the East-Tazovsky site. According to the sources of Kommersant on the market, the participation of the "Status" is rather formal and necessary to ensure that even if many contestants refuse to contest, the auction was nevertheless recognized as valid.