Rosneft hunts PA support as it readies privatisation

Russian government-owned oil company Rosneft is staging a transatlantic pitch for PA support as it prepares for privatisation.

Rosneft, which has laid the foundations of a partial privatisation via flotations on the Moscow and London stock exchanges, has shortlisted agencies in Brussels and Washington DC.

Hill & Knowlton and Brussels agencies Interel and Cabinet Stewart are fighting it out for the Brussels-based EU lobbying brief.

Central and eastern Europe specialist MMD was brought in two weeks ago to co-ordinate Rosneft's international comms, and is running the PA reviews on both sides of the Atlantic.

In a separate tender, Rosneft has shortlisted another three agencies to handle US PR out of New York.

MMD Russia general manager Stephen Lock said a decision on the briefs would be made within the next three weeks.

Rosneft has just brought in City firm Brunswick to handle financial comms around its plan to raise £3.4bn in the London market (PRWeek, 11 November).

Its decision to raise the money through a listing of global depository receipts, rather than through a stock listing, means the firm will avoid much of the scrutiny required by the London market's corporate governance and audit rules.

As western economies become increasingly dependent on Russia for oil and gas, Rosneft and its relationship with the Russian government is likely to attract increasing interest among European and US authorities.

Rosneft is Russia's third-largest oil and gas company, with £33bn in assets, and has been described as close to president Vladimir Putin's regime. Last year the government allowed Rosneft to buy the assets of Yukos, the rival oil group formerly owned and run by imprisoned former oligarch Mikhail Khodorkovsky.

Yukos's former international PR chief Hugo Erikssen is now working in MMD's Moscow office.

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