Russian co-owners vote against TNK-BP $1bn payout

City A.M. Reporter
The directors of a consortium of billionaires who co-own TNK-BP have voted against a proposal for the company to pay $1bn (£637 m) in 2012 dividends, putting pressure on BP to resolve conflict and ownership issues at the Anglo-Russian oil venture.

British oil major BP and its oligarch partners jointly own the TNK-BP venture but are heading for divorce after BP put its 50 per cent stake in TNK-BP up for sale last month.

"At a time of continuing market uncertainty and while corporate governance at TNK-BP remains strained, we believe that a cautious stance by shareholders is called for," Stan Polovets, the chief executive officer of the AAR consortium which groups the billionaire co-owners, said in a statement on Monday.

"A payment now of an additional dividend is not prudent," he added.

Chris Weafer, chief strategist at Troika Dialog investment bank, said the dividend decision "is just keeping pressure on the (ownership) situation ... so that everyone stays focused on getting a resolution as quickly as possible."

Weaver said AAR's decision put pressure in particular on BP, which will need to explain the situation to investors when reporting its second-quarter results on Tuesday.