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Sun Group to exit Itera

P B Jayakumar  |  Mumbai 

The Khemka family-owned investment company, Sun Group, is exiting and Gas Company, Russia’s largest private gas producer and trader.

has a 26 per cent stake in Itera Holdings, which owns 99.9 per cent in and Gas. The Russian energy major is buying back Sun Group’s stake in Itera Holdings, Russian newspapers today said, quoting Igor Viktorovich Makarov, chairman of and Gas Company. had picked up the stake in 2006.

“We have signed an agreement with Sun to buy back shares of Itera Holdings. The deal will be completed soon,” he said. However, he did not disclose the deal size. executives could not be reached for comments.

Itera had revenues of $1.7 billion, profits of $111.5 million, and a debt of $801 million for 2008, according to the latest available consolidated financial results.

The Sun Group — owned by Chairman and sons, vice chairmen and — is a leading principal investor and private equity fund manager in Russia, India and other emerging markets. In the last 15 years, it has invested over $1 billion in Russia through over 26 deals in food and beverage, beer brewing, chocolate, oil and gas, mining and technologies. The group has offices in New Delhi, London and Moscow.

Itera’s decision to buy back the stake of Sun Group comes at a time when the energy major is reportedly in talks with TNK-BP to sell half of its asset. TNK-BP is Russia’s third-largest oil producer and was formed by merging energy giant BP’s Russian oil and gas assets with Alfa, Access and Renova group (AAR).

Recently, Itera decided to exit its non-core operations in various geographies. Last December, Cyprus-based Suntera Resources — a four-year old joint venture (JV) between Itera and Sun Group to explore global energy assets — exited all its oil and gas exploration interests in India. The JV, along with Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) and Oil India Ltd (OIL), had picked up stakes ranging from 10 to 40 per cent in various exploration block allocations as per the New Exploration and Licensing Policy.

According to Sun Group’s website, in early 1900’s, the Khemka family had developed one of India’s leading mining and mineral businesses by exporting mineral commodities around the world. In 1958, the founders of the group established business links with the Russian region to import capital goods and infrastructure from the Soviet Union and the Sun Group was promoted in 1985 to pursue investments in Russia, India and other emerging economies.

First Published: Thu, October 07 2010. 01:05 IST