Russia seeks to raise 50 bln dlrs in privatisation: Kudrin
Russia will seek to raise 50 billion dollars from privatisations over the next five years to replenish coffers depleted by the economic crisis, finance minister Alexei Kudrin said on Wednesday.
After the chaotic asset sales of the 1990s created a class of super-rich oligarchs and a ferocious public backlash, the government had until recently preferred to increase rather than reduce its stakes in firms.
The financial crisis has blown a major hole in the Russian budget, however, and the government has said it would sell stakes in some of its top companies, including oil giant Rosneft and the country's biggest lender Sberbank.
"We will have a privatisation programme for five years worth around 10 billion dollars a year," Russian news wires quoted Kudrin as saying at an investment summit.
"The work continues, (the list of companies) to be privatised will be extended somewhat, with several enterprises," he was quoted as saying.
"The programme is from 2011 but this does not prevent us from starting already this year," Kudrin was quoted as saying.
Officials said the main aim of privatisation would be to make companies more efficient in addition to bringing in money for the treasury.
Last year, Russia's hydrocarbon-dependent economy was hard hit by the economic crisis, suffering a 7.9-percent economic contraction after growth of 5.6 percent in 2008.
© 2010 AFP