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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Rosneft Gets $9.2Bln From Yukos Manager

Rosneft received 237 billion rubles ($9.2 billion) from Yukos' bankruptcy manager Wednesday, recovering part of the money it spent buying Yukos' assets this year.

Rosneft, Yukos's second-largest creditor, will use the money to repay its own debt, the company said a statement. Rosneft borrowed more than $22 billion this year to back its bids for Yukos's oil production, refining and retail assets at bankruptcy auctions.

"Rosneft has gotten a very cheap lunch," said Kim Iskyan, co-head of research at UralSib Financial Corp. "The Kremlin has used Yukos assets to build Rosneft into one of the world's largest oil companies."

Yukos' bankruptcy manager, Eduard Rebgun, started paying off 400 billion rubles ($15.52 billion) of core debt to creditors after selling off nearly all of Yukos' assets, his spokesman Nikolai Lashkevich said. Rosneft and the tax authorities held more than 94 percent of the 709.5 billion rubles in claims again Yukos.

Yukos' creditors committee will decide "later" on disbursing about 300 billion rubles in claims against the company for fines and penalties, Lashkevich said. Individual creditors received less than 2 million rubles in claims, he said.

On the MICEX, a single buyer was spotted scooping up dollars, and dealers and analysts suggested the buyer was acting on behalf of Rosneft. The company needs to buy dollars to retire its foreign multibillion-dollar debt.

"There is active dollar buying going on at the moment," said Pyotr Milovanov, currency dealer at Metallinvestbank.

Yevgeny Nadorshin, analyst at Trust Bank, added, "One can suggest that a single market player is collecting the cash for Rosneft."

Amid the buying, the ruble eased against its dollar/euro currency basket Wednesday, giving back some gains from the day before. The basket, 55 percent of which is dollars and 45 percent euros, closed at 29.84 rubles, up 0.16 percent. That followed a 0.5 percent ruble revaluation Tuesday as the Central Bank, which runs a managed float, sought to combat inflation pressures.

Dollar volumes on the MICEX stood at $4.2 billion, compared with about $3 billion for all of Tuesday. Dealers said they the Central Bank appeared to be staying out of the market.

Wednesday's bounce left analysts wondering why the Central Bank had not yet intervened to keep the basket stable.

The Central Bank runs the world's third-largest gold and forex reserves, and about half of its currency holdings are in dollars. The Central Bank's chairman, Sergei Ignatyev, told the State Duma on Wednesday that he expected reserves growth to slow.

"Imports are growing, exports are growing too but at a slower rate, therefore our forecast is for moderate growth of gold and forex reserves," Ignatyev said.

Reuters, Bloomberg