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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Gazprom Neft Denies Merger Talks With Sibir

Gazprom Neft is not holding merger talks with enlarged Sibir Energy, a company spokeswoman said Wednesday.

"We are not holding such talks and we are not planning to halt legal actions concerning the Moscow refinery despite the merger of Sibir and the energy assets of [the Moscow city government]," said Natalya Vyalkina.

London-listed Sibir Energy said last week that it would acquire the energy assets of the Moscow city government for $922 million in cash to add control over the Moscow refinery to its Siberian production assets. But it said the deal was just a first step toward the creation of another large, vertically integrated oil company with the participation of state oil companies.

The statement prompted speculation that Sibir might be close to a deal with state-controlled Gazprom Neft, which together with another oil firm, Tatneft, is challenging Sibir and the city over control of the Moscow refinery in courts.

The Moscow city government and Sibir jointly own more than 50 percent of the plant's voting stock, but Gazprom Neft and Tatneft claim that they have failed to pay dividends on the preferred stock and thus preferred shares should be turned into ordinary and voting stock.

This would give Gazprom Neft and Tatneft control over the refinery.

Sibir has said it would invite other shareholders of the plant to participate in a major upgrade.