MOSCOW, March 31 The cash reserves of Russia's
third-largest crude oil producer Surgutneftegas jumped
by 17 percent to more than 1 trillion roubles ($28 billion) in
2013, company data and Reuters calculations showed on Monday.
Analysts believe the company, based in West Siberian city of
Surgut, has built up its cash pile to safeguard against a
possible hostile takeover. The company has never commented on
the reasons for its large cash reserves.
The deposits earned just 3 percent interest last year,
leading some analysts to question whether it would be better to
invest the money or return it to shareholders, including holders
of Surgut's high-yielding preferred stock.
Surgutneftegas is still headed by Soviet-era "red director"
Vladimir Bogdanov and analysts believe management control around
90 percent the company through an evolving structure of
affiliates - including the in-house pension fund. Management has
never fully disclosed the company's ownership.
The company also showed in its financial results under
Russian Accounting Standards that its net income rose last year
to 256.5 billion roubles from 160.9 billion roubles in 2012.
It is expected that Surgut will publish its 2013 results
under international standards later this year, after disclosing
them for the first time in 10 years last year.
($1 = 35.6877 Russian Roubles)
(Reporting by Olesya Astakhova; Writing by Vladimir Soldatkin;
Editing by Mark Potter)