Zoltav Resources is a junior oil and gas exploration and development company listed on the London AIM (alternative investment market) exchange for small companies.
Earlier this year in March, as its first major deal Zoltav acquired a small producing oil company in Russia, CenGeo Holdings for US$26 million.
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CenGeo owns the license to produce oil at the Koltogorsky block in Western Siberia with proven reserves totaling over 73 million barrels of oil. Zoltav has also committed to now invest another US$20 million in order to progress the under-developed field there.
Perhaps even more interesting than its deals to date, however, is the identity of Zoltav’s major shareholder Arkadiy Abramovich, who is the 20 year old eldest son of Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich. The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree it seems.
After working as an intern in the London office of Russia’s VTB bank Arkadiy has now set up shop on his own, founding ARA Capital to make acquisitions. One can infer that ARA are likely his own initials, and today it owns 39% of Zoltav.
More acquisitions are on the way too, and on November 11th Zoltav announced publicly it had signed a letter of intent to purchase oil and gas production assets from one of its major shareholders Bandbear Limited, which owns 32% of Zoltav. Zoltav also requested suspension of its share trading at the times, and trading has still not yet resumed – presumably until the deal is settled definitively one way or another.
Cyprus based, Bandbear is controlled by Valentin Bukhtoyarov, one of the owners of Sibuglemet a large coal-mining firm in Russia. Oil and gas industry sources indicated over two weeks ago that he is buying Vostok Energy, which has oil and gas assets in the Saratov region of Russia, reportedly for US$170 million and also the same sources indicate he is doing so on behalf of Zoltav.
It seems Vostok Energy had entered into the start of bankruptcy proceedings, and as a result the firm’s trustees in bankruptcy PricewaterhouseCoopers then found Banbear as a purchaser.
However owners of Vostok Energy also say that they know nothing about the deal, and indeed may have been trying to dispute it legally.
Now today the Sunday Times of London today reports much the same thing, and even adds that another announcement from the company could come in the next couple of days, though so far the company is making no comment. It is not clear if the Times has truly gained added insight, or is just recapitulating the existing story while it continues to gain traction.
Valentin Bukhtoyarov became a shareholder in Zoltav in the first place with the March sale to Zoltav of CenGeo Holdings, which he also owned at the time himself, taking back shares in Zoltav as part of the transaction.
If this new deal is indeed on track and confirmed, then the continued fleshing out of Zoltav with hard assets will form the basis for developing a real business, this time one with Arkadiy Abramovich in the driver’s seat. Like father like son, though he also seems to have assembled a good team of professionals around him to help him make progress.
Arkadiy Abramovich is one of five children born to Roman Abramovich and his former wife Irina Vyacheslavovna Malandina. They divorced in 2007. He has one brother and three sisters, Ilya, Arina, Sofia, and Anna.