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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Paper: Yukos Asking $1Bln for Mazeikiu

MTTNK-BP director German Khan
Oil group Yukos wants $1 billion for its controlling stake in the Baltic region's only refinery, front-running bidder TNK-BP said in a newspaper interview published on Wednesday.

Yukos is selling its 53.7 percent stake in Mazeikiu, which has a market capitalization of around $3 billion, and the prospect of owning the complex has attracted serious interest from at least six oil majors including LUKoil.

TNK-BP director German Khan said in an interview with Lithuanian daily Lietuvos Rytas that his company had been in direct contact with Yukos and the Russian government.

"We have consulted the government on the possible acquisition of Mazeikiu Nafta. But we did so only because we are speaking about nearly $1 billion, which is what Yukos is asking for," Khan said in the interview.

On Tuesday, TNK-BP was identified by Lithuanian Prime Minister Algirdas Brazauskas as being the favorite candidate to buy the Yukos stake. Under the ownership rules, the Baltic state's government, which holds 40.6 percent, has the final approval on any buyer.

"We will give the priority to British Petroleum to start the negotiations ... because it corresponds to our criteria," Brazauskas said.

A final decision on which company has the government's blessing to start the final negotiations on the sale was expected on Wednesday but then was postponed, Baltic News Service reported on its web site.

The delay was made to allow talks with Yukos and gain information about lawsuits in the Netherlands, where the Mazeikiu shares are held by a Dutch subsidiary of Yukos Finance. If they cannot be sold there is "nothing to talk about," BNS quoted Brazauskas as telling reporters after a Cabinet meeting Wednesday.

TNK-BP's Khan said his company had held talks with Yukos in London.

He said if TNK-BP were successful it would think about building an oil products pipeline and also pump around $300 million into modernizing the refinery.

A spokeswoman for Yukos in London could not confirm whether the $1 billion asking price for the Mazeikiu stake was accurate.

But she said that Yukos executives were in Lithuania on Wednesday and would attend the meeting with government officials.

(Reuters, Bloomberg)