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Controversial oil group Sibir Energy in takeover talks home

Nick Fletcher Wednesday 22 April 2009 16.10 BST

Yet more strange goings-on at Sibir Energy, the Russian oil company which ran into a row last year when it announced plans to buy property assets from co-founder Shalva Chigirinsky to help him avoid margin calls on debts.

Those deals were subsequently reversed and earlier this year the company opened an investigation into the situation, as well as suspending chief executive Henry Cameron.

Now the company appears to be a takeover target. Earlier this month it denied reports it had received a bid approach from TNK-BP, which was said to be planning a £2.3bn offer. But it now seems there was something concrete behind the tale after all.

Today banking group Credit Suisse revealed it had launched an offer on behalf of TNK-BP to buy shares in Sibir at 430p each, with a view to acquiring “a significant minority stake.”

But the story does not end there. Sibir has just issued a statement saying it noted the Credit Suisse move “which does not involve the co-operation of Sibir.” Nor had it received any approach from TNK-BP.

However, it now transpires Sibir has indeed started talks about an offer for the company – with someone else. Whether TNK-BP is trying to block this unknown rival is unclear, but it makes for an intriguing situation.

It would have been interesting to know what the market made of all this. However at the moment we are in the dark: Sibir’s shares have been suspended at 174.75p for a number of weeks.

Guardian Article

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