Lukoil Exits Ukraine, Central Europe


Lukoil sold its Ukranian retail fuels business to Austrian company AMIC Energy Management GmbH, but said its lube distribution in the country will remain intact.

Financial terms were not disclosed.

The oil major, which is Russias largest lubricant maker, sold its entire network of 240 fuel stations and its six oil tank farms in Ukraine. At the moment, the parties are interacting as part of the due diligence of assets and preparing to sign a sale-and-purchase contract, Lukoil said in a July 31 news release. In June the company also sold its 13 filling stations on the Crimean Peninsula, a Ukrainian territory annexed by Russia earlier this year in a military standoff.

After the most recent sale, the companys only large assets in the country are the Karpatneftekhim polyvinyl chloride and polyethylene plant, which ceased production in 2012 due to the political unrest in Ukraine, and distributor Lukoil Lubricants Ukraine.

Lukoil said it made the decision as part of a drive to optimize its business and that it soon expects to take similar steps in Central Europe as well. Lukoil is also looking to sell its network of 150 fuel stations in the Czech Republic, Hungary and Slovakia, company president Vagit Alekperov told Russian media last week.

However, Russian business daily Kommersant reported that the decision is directly related to the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, and initiated in response to the European Union and U.S. sanctions imposed on sectors of the Russian economy.

Given that Lukoil-Ukraine is one of the top five leaders in terms of number of filling stations and volume of retail petroleum product sales, its purchase is a strategically important step to improve AMICs investment portfolio in Central and Eastern Europe, said Gunter Maier, AMICs managing director.

Maier held high management positions in the Austrian energy giant OMV until 2011. According to his LinkedIn profile, AMIC is an independent advisory firm based in the heart of Vienna, and the company provides consultancy services for investors in energy infrastructure projects.

Last year Lukoil bought OMVs 35,000 ton per year lubricant blending plant located near Vienna, along with the companys lubricant business in Germany and Central and Southeast Europe.

In 2013 Lukoil held 48 percent of Russias total lubricant and base oil production.

Ukraine is among the top 10 lubricant consumers in Europe with demand of approximately 350,000 to 400,000 t/y.

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