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MOSCOW, March 26 (Itar-Tass) —— President Dmitry Medvedev ordered the government to reorganise the national telecom operator Rostelecom within 12 months by incorporating the state-owned company Svyazinvest.
Reorganisation is to ensure “control by the Russian Federation jointly with the state-owned corporation Bank for development and Foreign Economic Activities (Vnesheconombank) of more than 50 percent of ordinary shares in the open joint stock company Rostelecom”, the presidential decree said.
Svyazinvest owns 43.37 percent of ordinary shares of Rostelecom, the State Property Management Agency 7.43 percent, and VEB 2.45 percent.
The decree also removed Svyazinvest from the list of strategic enterprises.
As a result of the Svyazinvest reorganisation, Rostelecom, the main asset of state-owned Svyazinvest, was converted into an integrated company through a merger of its seven inter-regional companies and Dagsvyazinform.
Rostelecom has become the biggest universal national telecom operator with leading positions in key segments of the Russian telecom market.
Svyazinvest is the biggest Russian telecom holding company. Its main assets are seven inter-regional companies, the long-distance and international communication operator Rostelecom, and Russia's leading communication designer Giprosvyaz. By March 2011, Svyazinvest's companies have to consolidate around Rostelecom, forming the biggest national telecom operator.
“We expect a new player to appear on the market next year and hope that it will be capable of fulfilling the tasks set to it by the government and on the other hand that it will not demand constant subventions and subsidies and will be able to survive and compete with other major players,” Minister of Mass Communications Igor Shchegolev said earlier.
“Our estimates show that more than 50 percent will be controlled by the State,” the minister said, adding, “If in the future a decision is made to move on to a model that allows the company to be run without the full state-owned package, it will be a separate decision.”
The Russian Audit Chamber said controlling interest in Rostelecom should be held directly by the government. The auditors came to this conclusion after a probe into the reorganisation of Svyazinvest, whose inter-regional companies joined Rostelecom in April 2011. Initially, the reorganisation plan envisaged that the government would retain control of the new unified company. However now the government controls no more than 53.2 percent of shares indirectly through Svyazinvest, the Deposit Insurance Agency, and Vnesheconombank.