Shares In Russia's Bashneft Slump After Privatisation Delay


MOSCOW, Aug 17 (Reuters) - Shares in Russian oil firm Bashneft fell as much as 15 percent on Wednesday after Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev postponed plans to sell a government stake in the company.

The Bashneft sale was meant to be one of the crown jewels of Russia's privatisation programme. It was also set to pit some of the country's most powerful businessmen and officials against each other.

At 0730 GMT, Bashneft's ordinary shares were down 12.1 percent, while its preferred shares were down 5.6 percent .

Renaissance Capital downgraded its recommendation on Bashneft shares to "hold" from "buy" following the surprise privatisation delay.

"Given a 55 percent year-to-date rally in Bashneft's shares we think this uncertainty outweighs fundamental factors," RenCap said in a note to clients.

Bashneft was the top faller among Russian blue chips on the MICEX index, which was 0.2 percent lower at 1,972 points. The dollar-denominated RTS index was down 0.4 percent to 970 points.

Russian shares were broadly weighed down as oil prices fell back from five-week highs.

Brent crude oil, a global benchmark for Russia's main export, was down 0.7 percent at around $48.9 a barrel, as analysts doubted possible producer talks to rein in ballooning oversupply would be successful.

Despite the dip, Brent was still up about 15 percent this month and not far off a five-week high of $49.36 reached the previous day.

Hawkish comments from an influential Federal Reserve official also prompted some to move forward their expectations for a U.S. interest rate increase, weighing on riskier assets and boosting the dollar.

The Russian rouble was 0.3 percent weaker against the dollar at 63.99 and had lost 0.2 percent to trade at 72.10 versus the euro.

(Reporting by Alexander Winning; editing by Katya Golubkova)


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