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Sistema Mulls Merger

ST. PETERSBURG — AFK Sistema, billionaire Vladimir Yevtushenkov's holding company, may seek to merge oil producers Bashneft and Russneft as soon as 2 1/2 years from now, company president Mikhail Shamolin said.

Sistema will consider merging the businesses after Russneft's debt is reduced to $4 billion from about $6.5 billion, Shamolin said Thursday. At current oil prices, the company can pay down about $500 million to $700 million a year, he said.

Sistema might make a decision on de-listing its Sitronics unit by the end of the year and may merge the company with Concern RTI Systems, Shamolin also said.


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