OAO Lukoil, Russia’s largest oil producer not controlled by the state, together with a group of investors bought almost 5 percent of Lukoil’s shares from ConocoPhillips for $2.4 billion, the Moscow-based company said.
Lukoil and the investor group bought 42.5 million shares in the form of American depositary receipts at a price of $56 each. The purchase, arranged by UniCredit Bank AG, was for less than half of an 11.6 percent holding that ConocoPhillips had made available under an option that expired yesterday, Lukoil said in an e-mailed statement.
The deal aims at enhancing the company’s investor appeal. “It allows us to support our share prices, since the transaction is funded by the group’s internal resources, without increasing the company’s total debt,” Lukoil Vice President Leonid Fedun said in the statement today.
ConocoPhillips, with headquarters in Houston, is selling down its stake in Lukoil to raise money to repay debt and buy back its own shares.
A Lukoil spokesman said he could not immediately specify the amount of stock bought by each investor in the UniCredit-led group. The spokesman declined to be identified, citing company policy.
Lukoil on Aug. 16 bought 7.6 percent of its stock from ConocoPhillips for $3.44 billion. Standard & Poor’s said in July that Lukoil could threaten its credit rating by buying all of its shares then held by ConocoPhillips.
Lukoil closed at $58.76 a share in New York on Sept. 24, up 4.2 percent for the year.
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