Regulator's appeal in Gazprom bond placement case to be heard on May 17
MOSCOW, April 5 - RAPSI. The Ninth Commercial Court of Appeals will hear on May 17 an appeal against the reversal of the antitrust watchdog's decision declaring Gazprom in breach of competition law when it held a bidding to place its exchange-traded bonds.
The court held for Gazprom in January. The watchdog challenged the judgment.
The Federal Antimonopoly Service declared in September 2011 that Gazprom violated competition law during an open bidding for contracts on its bonds placement.
Gazprom summed up the bidding results in April 2010. Renaissance Capital and Gazprombank were granted the mandate to place its bonds worth 300 billion rubles ($9.6 billion), which at the time was the largest borrowing program on the Russian market.
The antitrust authority has established that Gazprom unlawfully overstated the importance of an aspect of the bids appraisal, thus giving preference to an inferior bid.
Gazprom responded that competition law is inapplicable in the case as it never announced that the funds raised from the bond placement would be allocated for gas transfer-related activities. In this regard, the gas monopoly was entitled to determine the bid conditions at its own discretion rather than having to strictly follow tender regulations and competition law provisions.
Meanwhile, the antimonopoly watchdog said Gazprom referred to the legislation mentioned in its tender documents and must follow them to respect the rights of all the bidders. The watchdog also admitted that it would not have sued Gazprom if not for these references.
MICEX registered the Gazprom bonds placement in August 2011.
Gazprom's board of directors decided to issue 300 billion rubles ($9.6 billion) in three-year bonds at a par value of 1,000 rubles. The bonds were to be issued in a public offering on the MICEX Stock Exchange.
Gazprom's charter capital is 118.368 billion rubles ($3.8 billion), divided into 23.674 billion common shares with a par value of five rubles. Over 50 percent of Gazprom's shares are held by the state.