Thursday, June 29, 2006

Tatneft leaves NYSE

Russian oil company Tatneft has announced its intention to delist from the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE). It will be the first time a Russian company has left the world's biggest exchange. Tatneft said its decision was based on the growing cost of securities registration in the United States and a desire to focus on trading on the London Stock Exchange (LSE), where it is also listed.

But market players say the company failed to comply with the NYSE's requirements.

A source in Tatneft's Moscow office said the company currently had 21% of its stock listed on the NYSE in the form of American Depositary Receipts (ADR), all of which could be moved to the LSE. The delisting decision is to be considered by Tatneft's board of directors on June 30.

"Since spending on registration with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has grown substantially in the past few years, the company has decided to move international trading in its securities to London," Tatneft said in a press release.

Other market players say these reasons are not crucial.

"The company most likely does not want to provide transparent financial reports," said Konstantin Batunin, an analyst with Alfa Bank. "The LSE requirements on issuers are less strict, and the disclosure volume is smaller."

Vladislav Metnev, an analyst with the Troika Dialog brokerage, agreed.

"One of the reasons is delays with the provision of reports, which proves that Tatneft does not need the NYSE listing," he said. "It may reduce its disclosure standards after delisting from the exchange."

Tatneft has had disclosure problems for years. Its press release said the company had sent the SEC an audited report for 2004 and an unaudited report for the first half of 2005. Had the company postponed the reports, it would have lost its listing on the NYSE anyway.

Kommersant, RIAN

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