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Government to sell stakes in 97 percent of joint stock companies by 2017

June 27, 2013, 17:14 UTC+3

The government will fully withdraw from the capital of Rostelecom JSC, Rosspirtprom JSC and the Vnukovo airport

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MOSCOW, June 27 (Itar-Tass) - Russian budget revenues from privatization are estimated at 1.7 trillion roubles in the period to 2016, Economic Development Minister Alexei Ulyukayev said at a Cabinet meeting which considered a plan to privatize state-owned companies.

"Part of the funds from the sale of shares in strategic companies will be used for their development and increasing their authorized capital. Direct budget revenues will amount to some 630 billion roubles," the minister said.

In 2014, the sum would amount to about 180 billion roubles, in 2015 - to 140 billion roubles and in 2016 - to 300 billion roubles. "Plus the money coming as Rosneftegaz dividends," Ulyukayev said.

According to the economic development minister, the government will fully withdraw from the capital of Rostelecom JSC, Rosspirtprom JSC and the Vnukovo airport. He confirmed plans to reduce the government's stake to 75 percent plus one share in Russian Railways, Transneft, and Uralvagonzavod. The Agricultural Bank and Rosagroleasing JSC are not slated for privatization. A special action plan is being drawn for their restructuring and transformation into development institutions.

Head of the Rosimushchestvo Federal Agency for State Property Management Olga Dergunova said the privatization of the United Aircraft Corporation /OAK/ and the United Shipbuilding Corporation /OSK/ had been postponed to 2024.

OAK is loss-making. "The company needs significant changes in tariff regulation and pricing model, i.e. the state has to make efforts to structure the branch of the economy," Dergunova said, "the OSK is in a similar situation: we pushed the deadline to 2024 and are decreasing the stake to 75 percent instead of 50 percent originally planned."

The revision is based on an analysis of the company's financial and economic activity, and opportunities for the sale of the stake and its timeframe. Rosimushchestvo plans to cut the state's stake in OAK to 50 percent plus one share by 2024. The state's stake in OSK is to decrease to 75 percent plus one share by 2024.

The government kept the plans to privatize INTER RAO UES through Rosneftegaz. Dergunova noted that talks were underway with Rosneftegaz over the sale of an INTER RAO UES package of shares. "We hope this company will help consolidate the state assets and improve the structure of registered capital," she said.

As for mining companies, it was announced that the state's stake in Rosneft would be cut to 50 percent plus one share. The government believes it is expedient to sell 10 percent of Zarubezhneft shares. Zarubezhneft handles offshore projects outside Russia, implementing projects in such countries as Vietnam and Cuba, the Rosimushshestvo head reminded, "we believe it is very expedient to wait for the results of the project in which the company has already invested. According to analysts, the "Cuban project" will dramatically improve Zarubezhneft's long-term capitalization.

The transaction to sell 7 percent of ALROSA is due to be completed later this year.

"Our plans remain unchanged. We believe this asset is unique in terms of presence in the world market: about 24 percent of the world's reserves belong to this company", Dergunova said.

Privatization will not seriously affect government stakes in banks. Central Bank governor Elvira Nabiullina stressed that she considered it inappropriate to reduce the government stake in Sberbank /Savings Bank/. "I would ask to take out of the plan the items concerning possible cuts in government stakes in the capital of banks after 2016," she said noting that the document envisions a cut in Russia’s stake in Sberbank.

"The Central Bank has no such plans," Nabiullina underlined.

For his part, First Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov assured that the government did not have such plans either. In this connection, he suggested not decreasing the government stake in VTB.

Shuvalov, who supervises the building of the Moscow air transportation hub, ordered to complete the consolidation of assets of the Vnukovo and Sheremetyevo airports within the shortest possible time. "We're going the way of establishing the Moscow aviation hub which means that the three largest airports will be private property," he said, "the stake in Russia’s largest airline - Aeroflot - Russian Airlines is due to decrease to 25 percent plus one share."

Finance Minister Anton Siluanov doubted that the budget would be replenished with some one trillion roubles in revenues from privatization in 2014-2016.

The draft budget for the next three years sets the target for privatization proceeds at 925 billion roubles, while in the approved program, it is 620 billion roubles, with the remaining 380 billion roubles as Rosneftegaz dividends.

“I still see the risks in receiving 380 billion roubles from Rosneftegaz because we don’t see such resources at this company in prognoses,” he noted.

Shuvalov tried to ease Siluanov’s worries: “Although legally, it is collecting dividends, it is still a privatization transaction /sale of Rosneft shares/," he noted, “if the sale of Rosneft shares takes place, we’ll get the money through dividends.

Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev summed up the discussion, underlining that privatization remained government priority.

Complaining that the plan had not been implemented due to the economic situation and lobbying by certain departments, the premier urged the Cabinet to continue work.

“Privatization is our common task and an ideological issue for the government,” Medvedev said.

He supported the idea to sell government stakes on Russian trade floors.

The state plans to privatize up to 97 percent of joint stock companies with government stakes by January 2017.

At present, there are 2,337 joint stock companies on the list and 1,795 federal state unitary enterprises.

Up to 53 percent of joint stock companies and 40 percent of federal state unitary enterprises can be privatized in the period from 2013 through 2016.

Rosimushchestvo believes 70 percent of ineffective federal state unitary enterprises should be liquidated or transformed into joint stock companies. Russia will keep some 100 state unitary enterprises by early 2017.

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