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Russian-backed Indian refiner Nayara appoints Panicker as chairman

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NEW DELHI, Sep 10 (Reuters) – Nayara Energy, India’s second-largest private oil refiner, is partly owned by Russian oil company Rosneft. (ROSN.MM)appointed Prasad K. Panicker as chairman, replacing Tony Fontaine, the company said in a statement.

Panicker will continue in his current positions as director and head of the refinery effective Oct. 3, the company said, praising Fontaine’s leadership role during his five years on the job.

In a statement, Fonteyn said he was “deeply proud of what has been achieved in Nayar”, adding that now is “the right time to hand over a new leader”.

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Nayara has been operating in a challenging environment since Western sanctions were imposed on Russia in February over its invasion of Ukraine.

Rosneft owns about 49% of Nayara and Kesani Enterprises Co Ltd, a consortium led by Trafigura Group and Russian investment group UCP, owns 49.13%.

Nadyara was not sanctioned as part of the international response to what Russia calls “special warfare” in Ukraine, but Rosneft was sanctioned, and many of the world’s oil traders and banks pulled out of the Indian firm over sanctions concerns.

Nayara Energy operates the 400,000 bbl/d Vadinar refinery in the western state of Gujarat.

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Reporting by Nidhi Verma; Editing Helen Popper

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