Russia Says LUKoil Sell-Off Priority
Russia hopes to receive at least 18 billion roubles ($632 million) from the planned sale of 6 percent of its stake in oil major LUKoil, a top government official said on February 8th.
The government holds a 15 percent stake in the company and has indicated that a partial sell-off will receive top billing this year.
The government is scheduled to discuss the details of the privatization later on February 8th. Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov said that the government needed to increase budget revenues from privatization and that the finance ministry had submitted proposed amendments to the 2001 budget with the intent of boosting privatization revenues to pay off foreign debt, including about $3.8 billion owed to the Paris Club of creditor nations this year.
But, Kasayanov also stressed the need for improvements at LUKoil. He said that: “This [the increased revenues] is important, but the main thing is raising production efficiency.”
The government had raised 31 billion roubles ($1.095 billion) in privatization revenues in 2000 and had received more than 19 billion roubles ($671.1 million) from the renting of state property and dividends paid by state-owned companies.
A new privatization law, which would improve the transparency and efficiency of privatizations, is expected to be presented to the lower house of parliament on February 15th.
© 2001 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)