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Yukos is volatile on changing messages

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Has a deal been cut between embattled oil company Yukos and the Kremlin? Yukos’s management offered a deal in the second half of June and president Vladimir Putin, explicitly commenting on the woes of the oil company for the first time, suggested that it had been accepted in principle. But some analysts warn that despite Putin’s reassurances, Yukos remains in as much danger of being closed down and broken up as ever.

As Euromoney went to press, it appeared that negotiations were going badly. On July 1, the tax authorities gave Yukos five days to pay its tax bill, but Yukos has refused to pay more than a third of the demand. Unless a compromise can be found, the former darling of foreign investors will go into receivership.

Investing in Russia doesn’t get much more dramatic. With both Yukos and its former CEO, Mikhail Khodorkovsky, due to go on trial the chances that the company would be bankrupted (and Khodorkovsky jailed) looked high.

By mid-June, Yukos shares had already fallen to a two-year low of $5.80 and the leading RTS index had shed all of this year’s gains in a little less than a fortnight.

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