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  Monday, October 21, 2019
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The Russian Audit Chamber believes that the auctioned 7.6% of Lukoil shares could have yielded to the state far more profit
The Russian Fund of the Federal Property had sold the last 7.59% of Lukoil's state-owned shares for $1,988 million ($30.76 per share) to the US-based ConocoPhillips. Although Lukoil stocks cost more then, government could not help praising the largest privatisation deal in Russia's history. A government official has confessed to Vedomosti that even before the auctioning, the Audit Chamber told President Vladimir Putin that the starting price for the state shares ($1,928 million) was an underestimation. The Audit Chamber has no complaints about the results of the auctioning, said Vladislav Ignatov of the Audit Chamber, but Lukoil's state-owned package could have been sold for a higher price. "We estimated the fair starting price of the package at $2.3 billion," he says. He sees the source of the problem in the mechanism for establishing the starting price for auctioning companies. "The starting price should not be announced for them a month before the auctioning, proceeding from the quotations of two months ago," explained the auditor. Experts and officials are convinced that the Audit Chamber's comments will not influence the outcome of the auctioning. "The chamber has no right to question privatisation deals," said a source in the Ministry of Economic Development and Trade. "Shares were sold for a market price, and the Audit Chamber's report will not affect the deal," agrees Steven Dashevsky of the Aton investment company.
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