MOSCOW (Reuters) - Rosneft (ROSN.MM), Russia's top crude producer, said its board had approved taking five-year loans from TNK-BP TNBP.MM totaling up to $9.7 billion as a way to tap free cash in the company it acquired last week.
The company also announced changes in its management team after completing the $55 billion TNK-BP acquisition from BP (BP.L) and the AAR consortium of Soviet-born tycoons.
Rosneft, which had to borrow around $40 billion to acquire TNK-BP, said in a regulatory filing on Tuesday the board had approved loans of 152 billion roubles ($4.9 billion) and $4.8 billion.
"Cash-pulling is a standard practice both at Rosneft and at the united company, which allows (it) to provide for effective management of free liquidity," Rosneft said in emailed comments.
A Rosneft spokeswoman added that the loans amounted to the maximum of TNK-BP subsidiaries' free cash that was approved by the board and that Rosneft may temporarily withdraw.
Sources close to the takeover deal had said Rosneft would possibly be able to refinance part of its cost by tapping cash balances accumulated at highly profitable TNK-BP.
Moscow-traded shares of TNK-BP Holding, the traded unit of TNK-BP, fell by 23 percent on the news of the loans to 36.86 roubles, a fresh historic low. Shares in Rosneft fell 0.1 percent.
TNK-BP shares have been in free-fall since last week, when Rosneft President Igor Sechin reiterated the state oil major would not buy out TNK-BP minority shareholders.
After the TNK-BP takeover, Rosneft's finances will be managed by Svyatoslav Slavinsky, a former senior banking executive with Citigroup (C.N) in Russia, Rosneft said.
He succeeded Dmitry Avdeyev, who had worked for the company since June 2012.
Rosneft's exploration and production arm, the world's largest in terms of hydrocarbon reserves among the listed oil companies, will be overseen by mostly current or former TNK-BP management.
Sergei Brezitsky, who had worked at TNK-BP until 2011, when he left for Alliance Oil AOILsdb.ST, has been appointed Rosneft's vice president for exploration and production. Chris Einchcomb, former senior vice president for exploration at TNK-BP, will work as deputy chief geologist at the united company.
Reporting by Vladimir Soldatkin and Maya Dyakina; Editing by Douglas Busvine and Jane Baird