BP Increases Stake in Sidanco

BP has completed a transaction with Alfa Group and Access-Renova to expand its stake in the Russian oil and gas producer, Sidanco, from 10 to 25 percent. BP has agreed to pay $375 million for an additional 15 percent of Sidanco, to take its interest to 25 percent plus one share - a level of equity that matches its current voting rights.

BP staff currently hold the posts of chairman of the board and president, as well as several other key executive positions, and its increased holding will further consolidate its influence in the company.

Lord Browne, group chief executive, BP said: "This purchase underlines BP's confidence in Russia and its improving business environment. Over the last few years Sidanco has refined its costs, strengthened its balance sheet and increased its focus on the upstream business. With this foundation Sidanco is well positioned to compete in the Russian market. BP will now second further staff into Sidanco's management to help drive the company forward."

"We welcome BP's increased participation as a shareholder in Sidanco and its enhanced management commitment," said Alfa Group Chairman Mikhail Fridman. "We view this transaction as an important step in developing our co-operation with BP, and as a signal of renewed investor confidence in Russia."

President of Access Industries Len Blavatnik said: "BP's presence in Sidanco has demonstrated the value of strong management and good corporate governance for the benefit of all Sidanco shareholders. We welcome the deepening of BP's interest."

Sidanco produces approximately 380,000 barrels of oil a day gross, mainly at facilities located in Western Siberia, including the recently returned Chernogorneft assets. Alfa Group and Access-Renova will remain majority stakeholders in Sidanco following the completion of this transaction.