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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Bashkir Firms Trading Halted

One of the country's two leading bourses, RTS, halted all transactions involving shares in six companies located in Bashkortostan on Tuesday as the government sought to bring them under direct federal control.

The RTS said it would register no deals in the shares of oil producer Bashneft, refineries Novoil, Ufimsky, Ufaorgsintez and Ufaneftekhim and retailer Bashkirnefteproduct.

Federal tax officials have sued the regional owner of the Bashkir assets, which have a combined value of $7 billion, for $1.6 billion in back taxes and are close to renationalizing them, Russian media reports said.

Preliminary hearings into the first suits are due to resume this week.

The exchange said operations in the stock would be halted following a letter from the firms' nominal registrar, DKK, that it would also halt operations in the shares. The shares are not traded on the country's other leading bourse, the MICEX.

Midsized producer Bashneft and the refineries were initially controlled by the regional government but have changed hands many times in the past few years.

Analysts have long expected the government to regain direct control of Bashneft, which produces 240,000 barrels per day of oil, as the Kremlin pushes for more influence over strategic economic sectors.