The government commission on foreign investment previously allowed Schlumberger to buy a blocking stake in the largest Russian oilfield service company Eurasia Drilling Company (EDC), said the head of the FAS Igor Artemyev. According to him, it is possible to purchase up to 49%, while the sale of control in EDC is no longer considered. Now FAS is going to hold talks with Schlumberger about the terms of the purchase.
The commission on foreign investment "preliminarily" authorized Schlumberger to enter the capital of the oilfield services company EDC with a share of no more than 49%, said the head of the antimonopoly service Igor Artemyev following the results of the meeting of the commission. "The government commission made a preliminary decision that the control, that is 50% + 1 share, the Russian government and commission would not want to give, but determined the boundaries that it could be a blocking stake, that is 25% + 1 share or even 49% , and instructed the Federal Antimonopoly Service to conduct appropriate negotiations with Schlumberger, "he said (quoted by Interfax).
According to Mr. Artemyev, even the sale of the blocking stake will be accompanied by a number of conditions for Schlumberger, however they will be less stringent than those 11 conditions that FAS previously agreed to purchase control in EDC.
Schlumberger itself refused to buy a controlling stake against the background of the latest tightening of US sanctions. "With respect to 25% + 1 share or 49% of the current range of allowable ranges - we will look at which of these conditions should be applied, which ones do not, we immediately enter into negotiations with Schlumberger and hope that we are on the home stretch," - noted the head of the FAS.
According to the latest data, Alexander Japaridze (about 31% of the shares) and Alexander Putilov (the former head of Rosneft) are the main shareholders of EDC (22.4%). Note, Mr. Japaridze was in the so-called Kremlin list, published by the US Ministry of Finance in late January. They would like to completely withdraw from the capital of EDC. Now FAS is also considering a consortium petition led by the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RFPI) to buy a stake in the EDC - the fund originally wanted to purchase 16.1%. Now, probably, the share of RFPI will be increased.
Among the conditions that the FAS agreed with Schlumberger was the mechanism for transferring EDC shares to Russian investors in case of imposing US sanctions against the company, appointing a Russian citizen as the head of the board of directors, etc. Kommersant's interlocutors said that Schlumberger as a result of the purchase stake in EDC wanted to reduce the risk of a complete loss of the Russian market in the event of tougher US sanctions or counter counter measures of the Russian Federation, since the company would then be able to provide at least part of its services through EDC.
Igor Artemyev also said that the commission approved two major international mergers in Russia - between the railway business of Siemens and Alstom, as a result of which, in particular, Siemens will become a strategic investor in Transmashholding, as well as between Fortum and Uniper in the power industry.