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Yukos shares jump on report of $33 bln valuation

Shares of OAO Yukos Oil Co. Jumped after a newspaper said the bankrupt Russian energy producer's assets are worth $33 billion, more than earlier reported.

The company's court-appointed manager denied the information. The Vedomosti newspaper, citing valuation documents by a group of appraisers, said the new estimate is 50% higher than the one announced January 19, though some production and refining units may be sold at a 25% discount. The stock jumped 8.3%, or 3.9 cents, to 51 cents on the Russian Trading System at 3 p.m. in Moscow, making what was once Russia's largest company worth $1.14 billion. The shares were de-listed from the ruble-denominated Micex Stock Exchange in September, when they were trading at 17.48 rubles (66 cents). „The report doesn't correspond to the real situation,” said Nikolai Lashkevich, spokesman for external manager Eduard Rebgun, by telephone. The final value won't reach $33 billion, Lashkevich said. Rebgun may start selling Yukos's assets as early as February, after creditors review valuations and determines the timing, procedures and conditions for the sales, Lashkevich said today. Appraisers have preliminary values for 180 of 190 assets and have drafted reports on 143 of those, Rebgun said January 19.

Yukos, formerly run by jailed billionaire Mikhail Khodorkovsky, was declared bankrupt last year after being hit with more than $30 billion in tax claims. Khodorkovsky was convicted in 2005 of fraud and tax evasion, which he claimed was retribution for his political opposition to the Kremlin. Yukos currently has debts of about $26 billion, more than half of which is owed to the Federal Tax Service. The second-largest creditor is state-controlled OAO Rosneft, which tripled oil output in 2005 after acquiring Yukos's largest production unit following a government auction. PKN Orlen SA, Poland's biggest oil company, has a claim for 2.9 billion rubles ($110 million) that will be reviewed by a Russian court later this month. PKN Orlen last year bought a 53.7% stake in Lithuanian refiner AB Mazeikiu for $1.5 billion from Netherlands-based Yukos International UK BV. Mazeikiu isn't part of the valuation process. Creditors last year recommended selling Yukos's assets. At the time, Rebgun said Yukos owed $18.3 billion and its assets were worth $17.7 billion. Yevgeny Neiman, who heads ZAO Roseko, which led a group of companies appraising Yukos's assets, referred all questions to Lashkevich. (Bloomberg)