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State-controlled Rosneft buys Yukos transport

Russia’s state-controlled Rosneft bought bankrupt oil company Yukos’s transport assets and subsidiaries in ex-Soviet states at an auction Wednesday for $730 million, only one bid increment above the starting price.

The starting price for the lot, which included telecoms, security and investment subsidiaries of Yukos, and its transport assets that failed to find buyers at previous auctions, was 18.5 billion rubles ($726 million). Rosneft paid 18.6 billion rubles ($730 million) for the lot. The only other bidder for the assets was little-known company, Benefit, which was outbid by Rosneft at the previous Yukos auction for licenses to East Siberian oil fields.

Rosneft, Yukos’s second largest creditor, has won all the main Yukos liquidation auctions. Through buying up Yukos’s key production and refining assets, Rosneft has become one of Russia’s leading oil producers. On Tuesday, a court granted the Yukos bankruptcy administrator three more months to continue the liquidation process, in which assets of what was once Russia’s leading independent oil producer are being sold off to meet creditors’ claims. Eduard Rebgun had asked for another six months for the process that has lasted a year and was to be completed August 4, saying available bankruptcy proceedings were not enough to pay the debts.

A total of 402.6 billion rubles ($15.8 billion) has been paid to creditors so far, and Rebgun told reporters Tuesday as quoted by Kommersant daily that another $2.2 billion was required to complete bankruptcy, and $5 billion should be set aside for possible payments to creditors, whose claims are still being examined in foreign courts. The liquidation of Yukos is widely seen as part of the Kremlin’s drive to regain control over the country’s oil and gas sector. (