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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Soros Speaks Out Against Rosneft Listing

LONDON -- Europe must develop a common energy policy and the planned flotation of state oil firm Rosneft should be blocked to tackle the threat Russia poses to energy supplies, billionaire financier George Soros said Tuesday.

"I think that Russia is working as a monopoly supplier and it is essential for Europe to have a coordinated energy policy to be able to stand up as equal partners in negotiating with Russia," Soros said. "If it is unable to do it, I think the dependence on Russia is excessive."

Russia is the world's No. 2 crude exporter after Saudi Arabia. Its supplies, which go mainly to Europe, cover more than one-quarter of the continent's needs.

Soros reiterated his opposition to the Rosneft IPO, which would be Russia's biggest-ever share offering and is scheduled to take place in London this year.

"It is an issue that should not be allowed to proceed, but I think it will," Soros said.

Rosneft grew from a mid-sized firm to a giant after it bought Yukos' main production unit. Soros said questions remained over the ethics of the deal.

 Rosneft hired a new public relations chief, Bloomberg reported Wednesday, citing Kommersant. Pyotr Kotov, the former editor of an official government newspaper, will replace Alexander Stepanenko, who quit Rosneft in May.