TNK-BP will not join suit against BP

City A.M. Reporter
THE BOARD of TNK-BP Holding, the Russian energy venture half owned by BP, yesterday voted against an initiative to join a minority shareholder in a lawsuit against the British oil major, a spokesman for BP in Moscow said.

“The board of directors voted against joining the lawsuit at its meeting,” Vladimir Buyanov said, confirming a report by a source close to TNK-BP Holding.

A spokesman for TNK-BP declined to comment further yesterday.

BP and the quartet of billionaires – representatives of the Alfa-Access-Renova (AAR) consortium who own the other half of Russia’s third-largest oil producer – clashed over BP’s attempts this year to secure an exploration and share-swap deal with state-controlled energy group Rosneft.

A minority shareholder in the listed subsidiary of 50-50 joint venture TNK-BP Ltd, TNK-BP Holding, is seeking total damages of over $13bn in a Russian court from BP and two nominees on the board of TNK-BP Holding, Peter Charow and Richard Sloan.

The shareholder, Andrey Prokhorov, needed more support from other TNK-BP shareholders to validate his claims in the lawsuit against the directors.

According to Russian law, a claimant must have at least a one per cent stake in a company to be able to file a lawsuit against directors.

Prokhorov has less than the required amount of shares in TNK-BP, and a BP lawyer has said that the court will have to waive his claims to the directors during its hearings on 10 November in a regional court of Tuymen where TNK-BP is registered.

BP’s shares fell 0.3 per cent yesterday, lagging behind the market, ahead of its third-quarter results due out this morning. Profits are expected to be around £3.1bn, down eight per cent on the previous quarter.