Gunvor denies it is up for sale

Russia rumours: Trading house denies reported sale talks

Commodity trading house Gunvor has denied a Russian newspaper report on Wednesday that suggested it was up for sale and had held sale discussions with multiple suitors including state oil giant Rosneft.

The Swiss-based trader was reported to have been put up for sale earlier this month and sales were negotiated with several potential buyers including oil companies, Moscow’s Kommersant newspaper reported on Wednesday, citing unnamed market sources.

One of the paper’s sources said the sale talks had included unofficial discussions with Rosneft.

The discussions had put a price tag of “plus or minus $5 billion” on the company, the report said.

"The article is pure fiction. The company is not up for sale," a spokesman for Gunvor told Reuters.

A Rosneft spokesman also told the wire service there "was no such offer".

Gunvor and Rosneft are already partners along with Sweden’s Lundin Petroleum in the Petroresource venture that owns the Lagansky block in the Russian Caspian.  

The trading house’s major shareholder Gennady Timchenko sold his 43% stake in March just before the US imposed sanctions on him over the Ukraine crisis.

Timchenko sold the stake to co-founder Torbjorn Tornqvist, who now owns 87% of the company with the remainder held by senior employees.

One of the world’s largest commodities traders, Gunvor trades around 2.5 million barrels of oil per day, according to its website.

The company’s investments also span refining, terminals, pipelines, coal mining and upstream assets.

Gunvor earned $433 million in pre-tax profits in 2012 on revenues of $93 billion.

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