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Tatar-Bashkir Report: January 19, 2004


19 January 2004
DAILY REVIEW FROM TATARSTAN
Tatneft Affiliate Reportedly Purchases Used Boeings
Germany-based tour operator Thomas Cook AG has reportedly signed an agreement to sell 12 of its Boeing 757-200 airliners to the Moscow-based leasing company Tsentr-Kapital, "Kommersant-Daily" reported on 17 January. However, Tsentr-Kapital and its founders, Zenit bank and Tatneft, have denied reports on the deal. Thomas Cook, established by Lufthansa AG and the Karstad Quelle AG trade network, specializes in tourism and transportation services. It is the second-largest tour operator in Europe, with an annual trade turnover of 2 billion euros.

Tsentr-Kapital, one of Russia's five largest leasing companies, was set up in 2001 by Tatneft and Zenit bank, in which Tatneft has a controlling stake. Tsentr-Kapital's boasts capital of 120 million rubles and a $230 million leasing portfolio. Tsentr-Kapital primarily deals with the leasing technological equipment, automobiles, and special vehicles. The agreement to sell the 12 commercial airliners was signed in Germany on 15 January between Thomas Cook subdivision Condor Flugdienst GmbH and Tsentr-Kapital, according to Thomas Cook. The company's press department said it sold the airliners because a sharp decline in the market for short-distance flights made it unprofitable to retain them in its fleet.

"Kommersant-Daily" quoted an unidentified Tsentr-Kapital source as saying the airliners will likely be leased to airlines in South America and in Asia. Zenit currently promotes a program for the lease of Tu-214 aircraft -- which are produced by the Kazan Aviation Plant -- that are similar in class to the Boeing 757-200.

Company With Tatneft Ties Wins Tupras Tender...
Efremov Kautchuk GmbH, a Germany-based company that operates independently but reportedly acts in Tatneft's interest, was named the winner of a tender for a controlling stake in Turkey's Tupras oil refinery, intertat.ru reported on 16 January, citing Reuters. Efremov Kautchuk bid $1.3 billion for a 65.76 percent stake in Tupras, which controls 87 percent of Turkey's oil-refinery market, compared to a $770 million bid offered by Anadolu Ortak Girisim Group. Turkish Finance Minister Kemal Unakitan said the Turkish government will not change its decision, despite Anadolu Ortak Girisim Group's subsequent offering of a larger sum.

To take part in the tender, Efremov Kautchuk established a joint venture with the Turkish Zorlu Group, which works in country's textile industry and energy and banking sectors. The result of the tender is to be confirmed by Turkey's government and prime minister by the end of January, "Vedomosti" reported on 19 January.

In 2002, Tupras processed 23.3 million tons of oil and produced 21.6 million tons of oil products. The company is expected to post $11 billion in sales for 2003. Tatneft, Russia's sixth-largest oil producer, currently delivers 19 percent of the oil processed by Tupras.

...And Seeks To Take Over Czech Oil Refinery
Efremov Kautchuk GmbH is taking part in a tender a tender for a 63 percent stake in Unipetrol, the Czech Republic's leading oil refinery and seller, "Kommersant-Daily" reported on 15 January, citing Reuters. The British-Holland company Royal Dutch/Shell, Poland's PKN Orlen, Hungary's MOL, Kazakhstan's Kazmunaigaz, and the Czech-Slovak Penta financial group are among the competing bidders. Canada's Norex Petroleum was dropped from the list of participants because its proposal did not meet the requirements of the tender, lenty.ru reported on 16 January, citing Reuters.

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova

DAILY REVIEW FROM BASHKORTOSTAN
Moscow Plans To Sell Shares In Petrochemical Plant To Complete Construction
Russian Deputy Prime Minister Boris Aleshin, in Bashkortostan to discuss the development the republic's industrial enterprises, told reporters in Ufa on 16 January that the federal government plans to sell an unspecified stake in the Polief petrochemical plant to obtain funds to complete its construction, an RFE/RL correspondent reported. The company is 100 percent owned by Russia's Property Relations Ministry, which needs more than $200 million to launch the company's production of synthetic polyethers sought to meet Russia's demands for packaging materials. Aleshin said a draft government resolution for the sell-off should be ready by February. The federal budget for 2004 allocates no funds for completing the Polief project.

Unified Russia Stumps For Putin In Bashkortostan
The head of Unified Russia's Bashkortostan branch, Rustem Ekhmedinurov, told Bashinform on 16 January that teams set up to campaign last December for Murtaza Rakhimov in the republic's presidential elections and for the party's candidates in the Russian State Duma elections are now promoting Russian President Vladimir Putin's re-election campaign. Unified Russia activists in Bashkortostan claim they have already collected 70,000 signatures supporting Putin for the March election.

Compiled by Iskender Nurmi
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