Business

Russia earmarks 900 state firms for public sale

Oil field in Siberia
Image caption Rosneft is one of the state-owned assets to be used to raise revenues

Russia has announced further details of plans for its biggest privatisation since the 1990s - which could raise up to 1.8 trillion roubles ($60bn; £38bn).

The sale could involve the total or part-sale of stakes of up to 900 companies, including the oil giant Rosneft and Russian Railways.

The announcement was made by Russia's First Deputy Prime Minister, Igor Shuvalov.

Russia needs to raise money to cut its budget deficit.

That is estimated to be 5% of gross domestic product for this year.

Russia's last major privatisation was in the 1990s, when huge chunks of former state assets were widely sold, only to end up creating Russia's ultra-rich, powerful individuals, the oligarchs.

The reforms became hugely unpopular, and the Russian government's strategy then reversed to increase state control over assets, something it funded through its booming economy.

Aeroflot

Relatively small stakes in the most important state holdings are earmarked for sale, with 15% of Rosneft and 25% of the rail monopoly Russian Railways.

Among the details given, Mr Shuvalov said Russian airline Aeroflot may form part of the sell-off.

However, he ruled out a sale of the oil pipeline monopoly, Transneft.

Transneft shares fell nearly 5% on the news, they had risen by 65% this year as the group was expected to be part of the major sale of state assets.

Other sectors where stakes could be sold include banking, telecoms and agriculture and even, eventually, Moscow's airports.

Mr Shuvalov said Russia was ready to privatise Moscow's Sheremetyevo airport but needed time to outline how to integrate all three Moscow airports into one hub, something, he said, that could not be achieved through privatisation.