Russia may raise nearly $1 bln from sale of quarter of Sovcomflot

The Russian government may raise some $1 billion from the sale of 25 percent minus one share of the country’s largest shipping company Sovcomflot, a source familiar with privatization preparations told RIA Novosti late on Sunday.

“(The stake) is valued at nearly $1 billion,” the source said.

Last week the government appointed Morgan Stanley as a lead manager of the deal.

The government has approved a $33-billion privatization plan for 2011-2013, which includes the sale of shares in the country’s top 10 companies, although there are no firm dates for sales and sizes of stakes are often unclear.

The government has said it wanted to privatize another 25 percent of Sovcomflot in 2012-2013 and decrease its stake below control in 2014-2015.

Although the government has planned to sell the first 25 percent of the company this year, privatization of the stake is likely to occur in 2012. Deputy Transport Minister Viktor Olersky said that the government has practically approved the postponement until next year.

The government has launched privatization earlier this year with the sale of a 10 percent stake in the country’s second largest bank VTB, for about 96 billion rubles ($3.3 billion).

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