Rosneft’s Morgan Stanley deal cleared by EU

Rosneft has finally gotten some good news out of European authorities after the European Commission gave the Russian oil giant the thumbs up for its acquisition of an oil trading unit from Morgan Stanley.

Moscow-based Rosneft had agreed in December to take over the oil unit of the US banking giant’s commodities division for an undisclosed sum.

Despite the EU and US imposing sanctions on Rosneft and other Russian institutions and individuals in the wake of instability in eastern Ukraine following the annexation of Crimea by Russia earlier this year, the Rosneft deal has been met with approval.

"The parties' activities overlap on various markets for oil and refined petroleum products, including fuel oil sales in the European Economic Area," the Commission said on Thursday.

“The Commission concluded that the proposed acquisition would not raise competition concerns, because the overlaps are very limited and a number of strong players would remain in the market after the merger.”

Rosneft is taking over the global oil merchanting unit that includes access to an international network of oil storage facilities, crude oil and oil products inventories and freight agreements.

Some 100 front-office executives and 180 other personnel will join Rosneft as a result of the deal.

The transaction does not, however, include Morgan Stanley’s stake in TransMontaigne or any of its commodities operations outside of the oil and products sector. It also does not include the bank’s current client business relating to oil and products merchanting.

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