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«  Июль 2009  »

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Kyiv, July 28 (Interfax-Ukraine) – Russian-British TNK-BP Corporation is in the final stage of talks on the acquisition of the UNT Vostok filling station chain (the Ukrtatnafta retail brand), the NefteRynok (Oil Market) weekly reported on Monday.

The magazine said that the deal is estimated to be worth up to $50 million.

"The deal with VIK OIL, [the present owner of the chain] is expected to be very good for TNK. It's difficult to find a more favorable time for acquisitions," reads the article.

The magazine said that a fall in fuel sales and the hryvnia devaluation affected the large filing station chains, which had been developed via banking credits over recent years.

"The simultaneous reduction of prices of land plots and construction services sharply cut the value of existing filing stations," said NefteRynok.

The magazine's experts said that the sale of UNT Vostok filling station chain is being forced on its owners, whose losses are estimated at UAH 200 million after the revaluation of banking credits.

"Several months ago many analysts were skeptical about the deal between the EBRD and Galnaftogaz. The bank received over 20% of the shares in the company, investing $50 million in it. The filling stations of the concern were estimated to be worth around $840,000 each. Time passed, and the deal of the Lviv company looks like rather far-sighted," the magazine said.

In an attempt to assess the value of the deal for the UNT Vostok filling station chain, the weekly publication estimated the value of one filling station with a land plot at some $850,000, which is equal to $95 million for the whole chain (114 filling stations).

"The stake put up for sale (it’s likely that it would be 73%) costs around $69 million, and taking into account bonuses for control – up to $75 million. Apart from liabilities [some $25 million], the actual value of the chain would be up to $50 million or $450,000-500,000 per filling station," reads the article.

NefteRynok said that the deal could be complicated by the fact that Czech company PPF Investment in 2007 bought a 27% stake in VIK OIL and could have a primary right to buy other shares of the company, or the key owner has a commitment to sell all stakes to a strategic investor, the magazine said, as it failed to receive comments from PPF Investment.

"We're not commenting on the information. Of course, the company is interested in the strengthening of its positions in the retail sector. We're continually analyzing the situation on the market and are ready to consider proposals on attractive projects. If agreements are reached, official announcements will be made. Today, TNK-BP in Ukraine owns 50 filling stations [six in Luhansk region and the rest in Kyiv]. The filling stations operate under the TNK, BP and Golden Gepard brands," deputy director of the PR department at Kyiv-based TNK-BP Commerce Ltd., Dmytro Zverev, said, commenting on the report.

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