Tags: russia privatize state

Russia Nears Approval of Privatization

Friday, 22 October 2010 11:47 AM

MOSCOW—The Russian government is close to approving a $59 billion privatization program as it seeks to cut the state's role in the economy and business and raise money to balance the budget, The Wall Street Journal reports.

The Kremlin aims to sell minority stakes of state-controlled companies ranging from banks and railroads to oil producers, reversing a trend during the oil boom through 2008 and subsequent financial crisis, when Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and President Dmitry Medvedev saw the government's share of economic output top 50%.

Starting in Mr. Putin's second term, the government systematically identified strategic industries and took control of key companies, resulting in declining equity for Russia's billionaire tycoons, even as the shares traded among small investors on exchanges remained relatively constant.

The government's stake in publicly traded equity has jumped to 52%, compared with about 27% in 2004, after Mr. Putin's first term as president, according to UralSib Capital.

Next year, the government is seeking to sell an additional 10% stake in VTB Group in 2011 and between 10% and 15% more in 2012, Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov said. Another 10% stake may be sold to investors including U.S. private-equity giant TPG Inc. as early as this year.

Read the entire story at wsj.com

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Friday, 22 October 2010 11:47 AM
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