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Unitex buys Yukos oil sale cos. for $483.5 mln

Unitex has bought Yukos' oil sale companies for 12.46 billion rubles (about $483.5 million) at an auction for the assets of the bankrupt oil firm, a RIA Novosti correspondent reported Thursday.

Yukos, once Russia's largest oil company, was declared bankrupt August 1, 2006, after three years of litigation with tax authorities over the company's tax arrears. Unitex, affiliated with Russia's largest independent natural gas producer Novatek, was admitted to the auction along with Neft-Aktiv (a subsidiary of Russia's state-controlled crude producer Rosneft), TNK-Yugra (a structure of Russian-British joint venture TNK-BP), Versar, and Shell-Neft (a subsidiary of the Anglo-Dutch oil giant Shell). However, Neft-Aktiv and Versar failed to register for the auction. The initial price of the lot that largely included retail oil sale companies in central Russia was 7.7 billion rubles ($298.7 million), the auction commission said. Maksim Shub, a spokesman for Shell, said the auction results will not affect the Anglo-Dutch giant's plans to develop a network of filling stations in Russia.

Meanwhile, Russia's federal anti-monopoly service said it has denied Promregion Holding, the winner of the auction for the Yukos southern assets, to effect the purchase due to the company's nontransparent ownership structure and the impossibility to establish its final beneficiaries. On May 3, Promregion Holding won the auction for Yukos assets in the Krasnodar Territory in southern Russia, after it offered 4.9 billion rubles ($190 million) compared with an initial lot price of 3.17 billion rubles ($123 million), the auction commission earlier said. (