Wednesday, December 14, 2005
Ex-Bush Official May Head Rosneft
13.12.2005 MosNews - Donald Evans, a former U.S. commerce secretary, may become chairman of Russian state oil company Rosneft ahead of its initial public offering, Russian Kommersant daily reported on Tuesday, Dec. 13, quoting its own anonymous sources. The paper quoted sources close to the situation as saying that Evans met a number of top Russian officials during a trip to Moscow last week, including President Vladimir Putin with whom he talked on Dec. 7. The sources said Putin asked Evans to assume the post. Kommersant wrote the idea was part of Putin's plan to soothe Western investors, who are concerned about Russia's investment climate following the prosecution and downfall of oil major Yukos. As MosNews has reported, Russian authorities plan to partially privatize Rosneft, with a possible stake sale and potential IPO in London slated for 2006. Rosneft appeared on everyone's radar screens after it bought Yuganskneftegaz, the core production asset of the embattled Yukos, at a forced state auction in December 2004, paying a mere $9.4 billion for it. Now the state oil company is valued at $50-58 billion on the eve of the IPO. Some analysts, however, expressed concern that foreign investors may be unwilling to fund Rosneft's IPO because it would basically mean paying once more for the assets (Yuganskneftegaz) which they already bought once. Evans' appointment to the board of directors would then serve as a soothing guarantee that investments would be safe and sound. Rosneft was not immediately available for comment. At present time Donald Evans is the executive director of Financial Services Forum, an organization which unites the heads of 20 largest U.S. financial companies. The organization was established in 2000.