* Rosneft chief executive holds meeting with investors
* TNK-BP minority shareholders say want a fair deal
* Veteran investor Mobius hopes for big dividend
By Megan Davies and Vladimir Soldatkin
MOSCOW, April 18 Veteran emerging markets
investor Mark Mobius urged Russian oil company Rosneft
on Thursday to issue "a nice fat dividend" to ensure minority
shareholders in recently acquired TNK-BP are treated
Mobius, whose emerging markets group has shares in TNK-BP,
made his comments one day after a meeting between Rosneft chief
executive Igor Sechin and investors at which the state-owned
company said the possibility of buying out minority investors -
who hold around 5 percent of TNK-BP Holding - was not discussed.
Shares in TNK-BP rose after the meeting but they are still
about 40 percent below this year's peak price in January, before
Rosneft completed its $55 billion purchase of the bulk of the
crude oil producer.
Sources close to the minority shareholders told Reuters they
think Rosneft should buy them out for $2.8 billion, based on
what Rosneft paid for its majority stake in TNK-BP.
"TNK is the big issue. We think the assets of TNK-BP are
much greater than the price reflects and we hope that it is
fairly treated so minority shareholders get a fair treatment,"
Mobius, executive chairman of fund manager Franklin Templeton's
emerging markets group, said during a conference in Moscow.
Mobius, whose group has $1.2 billion invested in Russian
equities, said Rosneft should pay out all the cash it has in
"So a nice fat dividend to all shareholders would be nice,
including (to) Rosneft," he said. "I hope (for an outcome) as
soon as possible. The longer it goes on the worse it gets."
The treatment of the TNK-BP minority shareholders was a
litmus test for conducting business in Russia, he added.
First Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov, speaking at the
same conference, said that Rosneft intended to resolve the
problem, without elaborating.
Rosneft bought the Anglo-Russian oil producer from BP
, which ended up with an almost 20-percent share of
Rosneft as a part of the deal, as well as a consortium of four
Russian President Vladimir Putin has hailed the deal but it
was met with scepticism by some investors and non-state firms
wary of the Kremlin's growing presence in business.
Sechin, a Putin ally, has said Rosneft has no obligations to
TNK-BP minority shareholders and the company will not offer any
"The issue of a share buyout from TNK-BP minority
shareholders was not discussed during the meeting," a Rosneft
spokeswoman said of Sechin's discussion with investors.
BofA Merrill Lynch analysts said Rosneft was considering
"reasonable exit options for TNK-BP minorities" and that Sechin
seemed open to a dialogue. But a source familiar with details of
the meeting said Sechin had not sent any clear signal to the
"I wouldn't read too much into this. There was nothing
concrete," the source said.
Russia's Alfa bank said in a note to clients that there was
"still no clarity on Rosneft's position towards TNK-BP Holding
(Additional reporting by Katya Golubkova; Editing by Timothy
Heritage and Mark Potter)