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Thursday, October 09, 2008

Gazprom says no plans to buy back its shares amid crisis

BISHKEK, October 9 (RIA Novosti) - Russian energy giant Gazprom [RTS: GAZP] has no plans to buy back its stock due to the ongoing global financial crisis, Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller said on Thursday. "No, we will not repurchase our shares," Miller told journalists. Miller is among a number of Russian businessmen accompanying Russian President Dmitry Medvedev on his visit to the Central Asian Republic of Kyrgyzstan, which began on Thursday. At their meeting in the Kyrgyz capital of Bishkek, Medvedev and his Kyrgyz counterpart Kurmanbek Bakiyev are expected to discuss trade and economic cooperation, including energy, as well as regional security. Miller also said that Gazprom saw no risks for itself in spite of problems on global financial markets, adding that the price of natural gas supplied by the energy giant to Europe hit a historical high of $500 per 1,000 cubic meters on October 1. Miller also said that falls in global oil prices that are currently hovering under $90 per barrel would not damage Gazprom's pricing policy. "The work of gas sector enterprises is built on different principles and even if something critical happens on oil markets, gas companies always have at least six months to analyze their financial business," Miller said. Also in Bishkek, Gazprom signed a memorandum of understanding with the Kyrgyz government to cooperate in the privatization of branches of Kyrgyzstan's national gas supply company Kyrgyzgaz. Under the document, "the parties will comprehensively study the issue and draft general principles, options and main terms of Gazprom's participation in the privatization of the Kyrgyz government's stake in Kyrgyzgaz equaling 75% plus one share in the company's equity."

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