Putin to take final decision on ONGC's bid on Imperial Energy

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Moscow, Oct 30 (UNI) Russia's Federal Anti-monopoly Service has extended the period for reviewing ONGC's application for purchase of Imperial Energy as it believed that the deal could limit competition.

''Interested parties have the right to present evidence of the effect on competition of the deals listed or other actions,'' the Service said in a statement.

Leading Russian business daily Kommersant reported today that the deal would be considered according to the law on foreign investments in strategic industries.

''This meant that the final decision was to be made by the governmental commission headed by Prime Minister Vladimir Putin,'' the paper said.

The Federal Anti-monopoly Service has already submitted a clarification request to the Russian Ministry of Natural Resources to find out exact information about Imperial Energy's resources.

In late August, India's biggest oil producer agreed on a takeover of the midsized, London-listed Russian oil producer for 2.6 billion dollars, but for the deal to go ahead it must have no strategic assets and it must then be approved by the anti-monopoly service.

Late last week, the Natural Resources and Environment Ministry said it had deemed Imperial non-strategic, clearing the first hurdle and allowing it to be bought and fully developed by foreigners.

Investors have been closely following Imperial's two approvals as the Russian investment climate worsens and foreign capital floods out.

Under Russian law, the anti-monopoly service has 30 days from the day it receives a bid to reply to the bidder, but this can be extended if it needs additional information.

Some industry insiders said the extension by the anti-monopoly service comes from a desire to put the pending deal on hold while India and Russia discuss energy cooperation on a much larger scale during the coming visit of Russian President to India, in early December.


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