BP to repurchase $8 billion in shares

March 23, 2013 at 1:15 PM

LONDON, March 23 (UPI) -- British oil giant BP said it would buy back $8 billion in shares after completing a deal to sell its 50 percent interest in Russian venture TNK-BP.

BP agreed in October to sell its stake in TNK-BP to Russian energy company Rosneft in a $17.1 billion deal that included cash and shares in Rosneft, the British Broadcasting Corp. reported Saturday.

BP began its venture in TNK-BP with an $8 billion investment in 2003. The company said it generated $19 billion in dividends from the deal, making it a lucrative arrangement.

But the partnership with TNK was fraught with company infighting and difficulties with the government.

Russian investors accused BP with putting decision-making control n the hands of British executives.

Russian authorities also raided the company's offices, accusing a number of employees with tax evasion, including TNK-BP's top executive Robert Dudley, who fled the country in 2008.

BP is now represented in Russia through its holdings in Rosneft.

"We expect our stake in Rosneft will generate long-term value for BP and its shareholders. But this buyback program should also allow our shareholders to see benefits in the near-term from the value we have realized by reshaping our Russian business," said BP Chairman Carl-Henric Svanberg.

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