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Russia's federal government is planning to slash the number of selloffs
Russia's federal government is planning to slash the number of selloffs this year, postponing some of them till 2005, Andrei Sharonov, Deputy Minister of Economic Development and Trade, told a Moscow press conference Wednesday. According to the official, some of the larger companies earlier earmarked for privatization in 2004 and 2005 will now be excluded from the list of strategic assets. "Given that it's September already, most of the companies are to be transferred to the 2005 privatization plan so that they could possibly be sold off," Sharonov said. The deputy minister said that the privatization revenue targets would be met thanks to the planned selloff of a government-owned stake in the petroleum giant LUKOIL. Speaking of the list of strategic assets, Sharonov said it contained four times as many companies as had been planned initially, and called for taking off all enterprises that are not essential to the nation's security and defense or to the performance of government functions and ones that have no state governance leverage. According to him, the government holds a mere 4 percent in some of the companies on the list. Even super-strategic companies should be sold off in case the government does not have enough stock to control them. The list of strategic assets was approved by a presidential decree in August. Companies of the defense industry constitute the bulk of that list (80 percent). Here are also major transportation and communications corporations, including air carriers, such as Aeroflot, Domodedovo Airways, and Krasnoyarsk Airways; large sea carriers; and the communications group Svyazinvest.
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