National JSC Naftogaz Ukrainy would take part in an open auction on the sale of an 18.296% stake in OJSC Ukraine's Ukrtatnafta (Kremenchuk Oil Refinery in Poltava region), the press secretary of the state holding, Valentyn Zemliansky has told Interfax-Ukraine.

As reported, Ukrtatnafta is planning to sell 18.296% of its shares - a stake whose ownership has been highly contested in recent years - at an open auction on June 27 as part of a court order that Russia's Tatneft argues has been suspended, Kyiv Post reported.

A source at Russia's Tatneft told Interfax that the company had received notification from Ukrtatnafta about the auction, although Tatneft believes the auction is illegal. "If the auction is held, it will be held illegally," the source said.

The source said the company had only learned a ruling by the Poltava regional court forcing Ukrtatnafta to sell the 18.296% stake to its shareholders at the end of May. Tatneft and Naftogaz then filed appeals with the Higher Economic Court of Ukraine, which suspended the lower court's ruling.

In addition, under the Ukrtatnafta charter, it is the company's supervisory board that must make a decision on the sale of shares that have been declared as unpaid. The auction was thus called solely on the basis of a court ruling that has been suspended. "The court ruling has been suspended and the auction is illegal," the source said.

The source also said that the shares are to be sold in a single lot at the auction. "The terms of the auction are such that Ukrtatnafta and basically the Privat Group are fully controlling the access of participants to the auction," the source said.

CJSC Ukrtatnafta was created based on decrees issued by the Ukrainian president and the president of the Russian Republic of Tatarstan in 1994. The company was set up on the core of the Kremenchuk Oil Refinery, which has capacity to refine up to 18.6 million tonnes of crude per year. At present, the company's largest shareholders are Naftogaz Ukrainy with 43.054% and the Tatarstan property ministry with 28.7788%. The 18.296% stake was previously owned by Seagroup International Inc. (U.S.) and Amruz Trading AG (Switzerland).


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