Posts Tagged ‘BP has accused the Russian shareholder consortium’

The quality of Russian corporate governance came under fire again today and opened the debate amongst fund managers as BP-TNK’s CEO Robert Dudley announced he has been denied leave to renew his visa; British Petroleum has accused Russian shareholders of “sustained harassment” towards him.

       BP said the Russian shareholder consortium, Alfa Access Renova (AAR), – which owns 50 percent of BP-TNK – is manoeuvring for overall control of the joint operation in a show of strong-arm shareholder activism.      
    However, BP’s criticisms of both corporate and government dealings in relation to business ventures in Russia are not shared by some other UK investors, such as Mike de Haaff – director of Equinox Finance Management Ltd – a hedge fund currently domiciled in Guernsey with investment interests in Russia.
    De Haaff told me that, while there are some concerns over the region, he views it as “a country with a positive outlook”, for both investment opportunities and improved corporate governance.
    Equinox currently operates a Russian opportunities fund and said in June that it was considering the launch of a private equity style vehicle to take advantage of an infrastructure programme, set to be launched by President Dmitry Medvedev’s government in 2010.
    Opposing this positive outlook is William Browder, CEO of Hermitage Capital Management, who was a critic of Russian corporate governance operations even while he ran a $4 billion hedge fund in the country. His criticism of both the state and investors led, like Dudley, to non-renewal of his visa in November, 2005.  
    He has described Russia as a place which has moved from “chaos to anarchy”, and said Dudley should prepare “for worse things to come”.
    “With so much money around people get crazy with greed,” he said.   De Haaff, while conceding that Browder has had some difficult experiences in the country, said he views the picture as “far less pessimistic.”
    His firm is continuing with its private equity planned launched, which he said will now probably go ahead during Q4.


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