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Russia's Rosneft May Buy Switzerland's Gunvor Energy Trader - Paper
Wednesday, 21 May 2014 09:00
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Russia's Rosneft May Buy Switzerland's Gunvor Energy Trader - Paper

MOSCOW, May 21 (RIA Novosti) — As the Swiss energy trader Gunvor prepares for sale, it holds talks with several potential buyers, including oil companies, and Russian giant Rosneft in particular, Russian daily Kommersant wrote on Wednesday citing market sources.

Gunvor assets were offered for sale in May, and some candidates are considering buying the entire company, the sources said. The discussed price is around $5 billion.

The sources, close to Gunvor's former partner Gennady Timchenko said the company was looking to attract partners, "and naturally, it is considering Rosneft."

Gunvor denied it was searching for buyers. Rosneft said it had no offers from the Swiss company. Sources in two other Russian energy companies Gazprom and LUKOIL said Gunvor was likely outside of their interest.

Founded by Timchenko and Swedish entrepreneur Torbjörn Törnqvist in 2000, Gunvor is one of the world’s largest oil traders and exports about 30 percent of Russia’s crude oil. The two businessmen owned 44 percent of the company until Timchenko sold his share to Törnqvist in March, just before the United States imposed sanctions on several Russian top public figures, including Timchenko.

The US Finance Ministry said Timchenko's activity in the energy sector was closely linked to President Vladimir Putin, who it said was a shareholder at Gunvor. The company denied Putin owned its shares.

After Timchenko left the company, Törnqvist announced he would be searching for a new partner. Kommersant sources say the Russian businessman, however, remains an influential figure in Gunvor's destiny, although the sale was irreversible.

"One way or another, he is informed about the sale talks," said one of the sources. Others deny Timchenko's involvement.

According to FT data, Gunvor made $92 billion in revenue in 2012.