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Report: VEB to boost finances with sale of Gazprom stake

The Russian government approved plans for Vnesheconombank to sell a 2.7% stake in OAO Gazprom to theenergy company, Kommersant reported May6, citing sources close to both companies.

At current market prices, the potential divestment of the shares could bring VEB some 103.5 billionrubles.

However, to bolster the finances of the state bank, the governmentmay request Gazprom to purchase the shares at the price at which VEB acquired themfrom E.ON in 2010, raising the value of the deal to about 231 billion rubles, thepaper noted.

VEB has also started looking for buyers for its noncore miningand metallurgical assets — holdings in Russia-based Sibuglemet Holding and Ukraine-basedIndustrial Union of Donbass.

Potential investors include almost all Russian and Ukrainiancompanies from the mining and metals sectors, as well as financial institutions,but it will be difficult to find a buyer for these assets due to the current situationin Ukraine and Sibuglemet's debts, according to the report.

As of May 6, US$1 was equivalentto 65.78 Russian rubles.