British oil giant BP said Friday that it intends to carry out a share repurchase program with a total value of up to 8 billion U.S. dollars, following the completion of the sale of BP's 50 percent interest in TNK-BP to Rosneft in Russia.
The announced repurchase, also called buyback, program is expected to return to BP shareholders an amount equivalent to the value of the company's original investment in TNK-BP, the third largest oil producer in Russia, said BP in a statement.
BP invested around 8 billion dollars in cash, shares and assets in the formation of TNK-BP in 2003. Over the following decade BP received a total of 19 billion dollars in dividends from the joint venture.
BP sold its interest in TNK-BP to Rosneft, followed by a reinvestment in Rosneft shares, for an overall consideration of 12.48 billion dollars in cash, including 0.71 billion dollars in TNK-BP dividends received by BP in December 2012, together with shares representing 18.5 percent of Rosneft. As a result, BP now holds a 19.75 percent interest in Rosneft.
"BP is moving on to the next phase of its business in Russia, becoming the largest private shareholder in Rosneft, Russia's leading oil company," said BP Group Chief Executive Bob Dudley.
"In the process we have also released cash, equivalent to at least six years of BP's anticipated future dividends from TNK-BP. We look forward now to working closely with Rosneft and together developing opportunities to create value for both companies."
Dudley said that the size of the proposed buyback program, which is expected to exceed that required to offset the earnings per share dilution expected as a result of the sale of TNK-BP, also reflected the reduction in BP's asset base following its major 38 billion dollars divestment program over the past three years.
The buyback is expected to take 12 to 18 months to complete.