Rosneft acquires Armenian petrol station chain for $40mn

By bne IntelliNews November 27, 2015

Russia's Rosneft has acquired Armenia's Petrol Market, a chain of petrol filling stations, for $40mn, according to Arka news agency.

The deal was finalised in August, and the takeover took place in November.

Rosneft is the largest oil and gas company in Russia, and is owned by the Russian goverment through Rosneftgaz (69.5%) and by BP (19.75%). The rest of shares are traded on the Russian stock exchange market.

Russian companies like Gazprom own large stakes in many of Armenia's important companies, and the country overall is highly dependent on Russia for investment, trade, remittances and defence. According to Annie Jafalian, author of "Reassessing Security in the South Caucasus", "the Armenian government ceded to Russian companies a significant part of the country's economic assets in debt-for-equity swaps. In its efforts to cancel its debt and moderate Russian gas prices, Armenia thus became a hostage to Russian capital. But Russian investments were delayed and have remained relatively low."

Armenia's dependence on Russia complicates its relations with other neighbours, such as Iran. As the sanctions on Iran are being eased and will eventually be lifted, Armenia could benefit from higher trade and investment with its southern neighbour, but Russia is likely to block those collaborations that affect its own interests in Armenia.

Due to the fact that Armenia's borders with Azerbaijan and Turkey have remained closed for over two decades over the breakaway region of Nagorno-Karabakh, enhancing trade with Georgia and Iran are the country's best opportunities to diversify its commercial relations away from Russia.

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