LONDON (CNNfn) - BP Amoco moved closer to rescuing its investment in bankrupt Russian oil firm Sidanko Friday, three months after writing off half its $571 million stake.
The U.K. oil firm called an extraordinary meeting of Sidanko's shareholders in Moscow to push through board changes expected to hasten the restructuring of the Russian firm.
BP Amoco bought a 10 percent stake in Sidanko in 1997 but has clashed with the Russian firm's majority shareholder, according to published reports, after Sidanko was pushed into bankruptcy by creditors in January.
Interros, the conglomerate run by Russian oligarch Vladimir Potanin, owns a 43 percent stake and dominates the 11-member Sidanko board. BP Amoco has 20 percent of the voting rights but just one board seat.
Interros blocked a move by creditors including BP Amoco and other overseas investors with 47 percent of Sidanko to appoint an external auditor to run the company ahead of an insolvency meeting scheduled for May 18, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal Friday.
BP Amoco has maintained it is taking a long-term view of the Russian market. Sidanko's Siberian interests include reserves of 300 million barrels and huge gas deposits that BP believes could be used to supply the Chinese market, according to a U.K.-based oil strategist who spoke on condition of anonymity.
BP Amoco declined to comment. Its shares climbed 14.5 pence to 1,112 pence in London.
-- from staff and wire reports