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Russia: Gazprom's net profit down 55.8% Jan-Sep to R34.224 billion

CEP20021128000192 Moscow ITAR-TASS in English 1419 GMT 28 Nov 02

[FBIS Transcribed Text]

MOSCOW, November 28 (Itar-Tass) - The Russian gas giant Gazprom's net profit in January-September slumped by 55.8 percent on the year to 34.224 billion roubles, Prime-Tass reports with reference to the company's own statement.
  Gazprom's gross profit in the period was 40.266 billion roubles against 118.155 billion roubles in January-September 2001.
  Income from the sales of goods and services in January-September reached 429.545 billion roubles, against 363.3 billion roubles in the same period last year.
  Production costs in the first three quarters of 2001 were 156.496 billion roubles against 102.838 billion roubles a year earlier.

[Description of Source: Moscow ITAR-TASS in English -- main government information agency]



Russia: Gazprom Board Meeting Addresses Problem of Drop in Prices on Russian Gas; Plans North European Pipeline

CEP20021120000230 Moscow Rossiyskaya Gazeta in Russian 20 Nov 02 P 2

[Report by Aleksey Chichkin: "Europe Undressing Gas Producers"--taken from html version of source provided by ISP.]

[FBIS Translated Text]
    Yesterday's meeting of the Gazprom governing board took place on a background of catastrophic decline in export proceeds of the holding company, which is one of the main donors to the Russian treasury.   The loss of one-fifth of the income in 9 months alone is comparable only to the scope of the well-known world fuel crisis of 1973.

    And so, the board of OAO [joint-stock company of the open type] Gazprom adopted the decision to undertake the implementation of the North European gas pipeline project (SEG).   As the OAO Gazprom press service reported, the board meeting approved the preliminary schedule of its implementation.   We may recall: The SEG is to be laid along the bottom of the Baltic, with "outlets" to almost all the countries of the region, as well as to Kaliningrad Oblast (which, as the Scandinavian mass media believe, will finally cure its "post-Soviet energy hunger").   Further, Transbalt is planned to extend to Germany, Belgium, and even Great Britain.   Altogether, plans call for supplying over 10 billion cubic meters a year along this route after 2007, with the annual currency proceeds "set" in the amount of $1-$1.5 billion.   But a slight hitch is arising with the income, to put it mildly.   Throughout all of Europe, valuations on Russian gas are declining, and this decline will most likely last for a long time to come.   This is primarily due to the strict limitations on sale of Russian gas.

    As of 1999, re-sale of gas by any states and companies has been allowed on the European market within the scope of the European Union's long-range program on liberalization of the gas market in Europe.   According to Gazprom data, for a number of years now, losses to the Russian side from such "liberalism" have exceeded $500 million per year.

    But we must note that the European valuations on our gas are over six times higher than in Russia itself!    That is why we must increase gas deliveries abroad: In the past 14 months, they have increased in volume by approximately one-third.   Were it not for such growth, the "gas dollar" revenues for January-September would have been not $11 billion, but almost a third less.

    In the course of the recent "business breakfast" at Rossiyskaya Gazeta, the head of the holding company, Aleksey Miller, admitted that many European companies are interested in buying our gas practically for a pittance.   "Liberalization" of the European market, according to A. Miller, drives down the price primarily on Russian "blue fuel," because its relative share in gas provision of the EU [European Union] region is almost one-third, and in Eastern Europe it exceeds 80 percent.   We may recall that, in the Fall, the Government of the Russian Federation decided to at least somehow support the sector by reducing the tax on export of gas from 10 to 5 percent.   But this step only forestalled the decline of the "gas dollar" revenues.

    The main battles on this question will be continued at the upcoming EU-Russia summit meeting to be held in Brussels.   It appears that this is specifically why the "gas problem" was not touched upon in a bilateral context at the Paris negotiations of the Russian government delegation.

[Description of Source: Moscow Rossiyskaya Gazeta in Russian -- Government daily newspaper.]


Russian government may buy up Gazprom shares

CEP20021121000133 Moscow Interfax in English 1136 GMT 21 Nov 02

[FBIS Transcribed Text]

 MOSCOW. Nov 21 (Interfax) - The Russian government may possibly buy up shares in Gazprom that are currently owned by the gas concern's subsidiaries, a source on the Gazprom board of directors told Interfax on Thursday.
  According to the source, at the moment the state owns about 38% of Gazprom shares and a significant packet is in the hands of the company's subsidiaries. In total, the Gazprom shares owned by the state and the shares owned by the subsidiaries amount to over 50%.
  The source noted that there are two ways to resolve this problem: the first - to leave everything as it is and coordinate the management of the shares owned by the state and the Gazprom subsidiaries; and the second - for the state to buy up Gazprom shares belonging to the subsidiaries and to receive controlling shares in the company.
  "There will not and cannot be any nationalization of the company's shares," the source said.
  However, the source stressed that the process of liberalizing the Gazprom share market should not depend on the option chosen by the state.
  As reported earlier, the Gazprom board of directors on Tuesday called for the speedier liberalization of its share market. This will be possible if the state has at least 51% of the stock.
  The board members agreed to remove restrictions on dealing in the company's shares in the near future.
  Earlier, at the first stage of liberalization of the Gazprom share market, it was planned to lift all restrictions on the domestic market, allowing the shares to be traded on all floors with a license from the Federal Securities Commission.
  Then it was proposed to abolish the permission system for foreigners to acquire the company's shares and to increase the share of non-residents in the Gazprom capital to the 20% limit set by law, and also fully or partially end the division of the company's market into domestic and foreign sections.
  According to information from January 2002, the main Gazprom shareholders are the state - 38.37%, Russian corporate entities - 33.32%, private investors - about 16% and foreign investors - 11.5%.
[Description of Source: Moscow Interfax in English -- non-government information agency known for its aggressive reporting, extensive economic coverage, and good coverage of Russia's regions]


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