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Exclusive: Russia's RDIF in talks over control of Sistema's retail, power assets - sources

Reuters  |  MOSCOW 

By Voronova and Vladimir Soldatkin

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russian conglomerate Sistema, which has to make a big payment to to settle a business dispute, is in talks with one of the country's sovereign wealth funds about transferring two of its companies, sources said on Friday.

The negotiations concern the possibility of the state-owned (RDIF) taking over control of two retail and power businesses from Sistema, a banking source and a source close to the conglomerate told

Asked by for comment, said it had no plans to take over the assets, and said it was not planning to transfer the to the fund.

The dispute centred on company Bashneft, pitting Rosneft's chief executive Igor Sechin, a close ally of Vladimir Putin, against owner Vladimir Yevtushenkov, a billionaire who some Russian suggest is close to

Under the settlement announced last month, has to pay 100 billion roubles ($1.8 billion) by March 30 and has agreed to lend 40 billion roubles. Russia's largest lender will also help to raise funds before the deadline.

put up two of its assets, and the Bashkirian Power Grid Company, as collateral against the loan. The talks centre on the possible transfer of these firms to the fund.

"The parties have been in discussion over the terms and the deal structure," a banking source said.

Another source, close to Sistema, confirmed that such talks have been under way and that the terms of the deal have not yet been agreed. It was not clear whether they would include any cash payments to or it would be non-cash transaction.

said in the emailed comments that the fund did not plan to acquire or in any way "gain control" over the "acts as the arranger of the 40 billion-rouble-financing secured by these assets, as it was set in the amicable agreement," the fund said.

Sistema's said that the company was not considering transferring control over and to

The RDIF's possible acquisition of the would mark a boost for the fund, which is headed by ex- RDIF, which manages capital of $10 billion, was launched in 2011 with the aim of attracting foreign investments to

($1 = 56.5008 roubles)

(Reporting by Voronova and Vladimir Soldatkin; editing by Katya Golubkova and David Stamp)

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Fri, January 12 2018. 20:16 IST