* Timchenko set to extend interest in Russian energy exports
* Port handles around 1 million tonnes of coal per month
(Adds Timchenko’s spokesman denying deal done)
MOSCOW/ST PETERSBURG, Russia, Feb 4 (Reuters) - Russian trader Gennady Timchenko has agreed to buy Murmansk Commercial Sea Port for $250 million, extending his interests in Russian energy exports, industry sources told Reuters on Friday.
“The deal is expected to be closed in the first quarter,” one of the sources said. Sources close to the buyer and the Barents Sea port’s owners confirmed the deal.
A spokesman for Timchenko denied the purchase had taken place. “Due to the media reports ... we deem it necessary to announce that there is no agreement on the purchase of the port by structures of Gennady Timchenko,” the spokesman said.
Murmansk, Russia’s leading coal export terminal with a monthly capacity of around 1 million tonnes, is controlled by a group of private investors. It sends the bulk of its shipments to Europe. Russian group SUEK is the major supplier, followed by Italian group Coeclerici and Russian company Mechel (MTL.N).
Timchenko has been increasing his activity in energy markets. His Volga Resources fund last year became the biggest shareholder in Novatek NOT.MM, Russia’s largest non-state gas producer.
Swiss-based trader Gunvor, co-owned by Timchenko, started fuel oil exports from the port of Ust-Luga, which is set to become Russia’s largest oil product outlet on the Baltic Sea. [ID:nLDE70U096]
Gunvor, the world’s third-largest oil trader, also plans to become one of the world’s top gas traders. [ID:nLDE62T0GW] (Reporting by Denis Pinchuk and Vladimir Soldatkin; Editing by Erica Billingham)