UPDATE 1-Germany’s E.ON may sell stake in Russia’s Gazprom

* E.ON plans to sell stake to Russian bank VEB – paper

* Gazprom stake valued at $4.5 bln at current market prices

* Putin may discuss possible sale with Merkel in Berlin

(Adds Putin’s spokesman, details)

MOSCOW, Nov 24 (BestGrowthStock) – Russian Prime Minister Vladimir
Putin may discuss E.ON Ruhrgas’s (EONGn.DE: ) possible sale of a
3.5 percent stake in Gazprom (GAZP.MM: ) with German Chancellor
Angela Merkel on Friday, his spokesman said.

E.ON Ruhrgas is considering selling a 3.5 percent stake —
worth $4.5 billion at current market prices — in Gazprom to
Russian state-owned bank VEB, Russia’s Kommersant daily reported
on Wednesday, quoting sources close to both firms.

Putin, who is board chairman at VEB, will meet Merkel in
Berlin on Friday and the Gazprom sale may be raised at the
talks, Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov said by telephone.

“There will be no separate talks on the issue but it could
be assumed that this subject will be touched upon,” Peskov said.

Kommersant, one of Russia’s most respected newspapers, said
the stake in Gazprom would be sold at a premium to the current
market price for Gazprom shares.

“The stake should be sold at a small premium to the market
price in order not to affect Gazprom’s market cap,” a source
close to the German firm told Kommersant.

A source at Gazprom told Kommersant that Russian state
corporation VEB is the buyer. VEB, which is also the
government’s debt and investment agent, holds the cash for
Russia’s sovereign National Welfare Fund.

VEB and Gazprom could not be immediately reached for comment
before Moscow business hours on Wednesday.

E.ON, the world’s largest utility, announced 15 billion
euros in divestments through 2013 as the picture for earnings in
coming years remains bleak. The company is set to see at least
three years of falling earnings. [ID:nLDE6A90NG]

E.ON’s new Chief Executive Johannes Teyssen said earlier
this month that the company viewed its Gazprom stake as “non
strategic” and said the company wanted to expand in China or
Brazil. Gazprom was not available for comments.
(Reporting by Gleb Bryanski)

UPDATE 1-Germany’s E.ON may sell stake in Russia’s Gazprom