Shares in the Russian state oil company Rosneft have gone on sale in Moscow for the first time and closed 2% below the price they were sold at in last week’s initial offering of stock to the public. The sale, which is the biggest in Russian history, will eventually see as much as a quarter of the firm put in the hands of private investors.
The shares are due to go on sale on the London Stock Exchange on Wednesday, but that has been challenged in a UK court by the Russian oil producer YUKOS. It claims some of the assets of Rosneft were illegally seized from them to cover alleged tax arrears. Rosneft is Russia’s third largest oil company. It pumps 1.58 million barrels per day. That is just below TNK-BP at 1.62 million barrels a day.
The biggest is the mostly privately owned Lukoil which turns out 1.8 million barrels of crude each day. Rosneft said that three overseas oil firms have bought major shareholdings. Malaysian oil company Petronas has 10% of the shares, BP has 9% and China National Petroleum Corporation purchased 4%. One report says Chelsea Football Club owner Roman Abramovich has also taken a large stake in Rosneft – as much as 3% of all the shares.