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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Imperial Confirms Stake Bid

Gazprombank, an arm of gas producer Gazprom, bid for as much as 25 percent of Imperial Energy in a move analysts said might help resolve Imperial's standoff with the Natural Resources Ministry, the London-based oil explorer said Wednesday.

The company offered to buy new Imperial stock at a discount to the share price on Nov. 1, Imperial said. The shares slid 9.2 percent to below the Nov. 1 close.

Imperial said there was "no certainty" that it would agree to the offer.

"A strategic partnership with Gazprombank -- effectively Gazprom -- would diminish the risks stemming from the company's long-lasting conflict" with the Natural Resources Ministry, Aton Capital said in a note to investors. "The bid from Gazprombank should be positive for the stock."

In July, the Natural Resources Ministry's environmental watchdog called Imperial's reserves statements "substantially overstated and misleading" in a letter to Britain's Financial Services Authority, which regulates financial markets. Imperial has denied inflating its reserves.

"I don't believe that Gazprombank would be satisfied with only 25 percent of the company. This contradicts Gazprom's general strategy," Konstantin Batunin, an oil and gas analyst at Alfa Bank said.

Gazprombank said in an e-mailed response to questions that the investment would be "financial" and that it was not seeking control.