Russia's state firms sale 'attracts foreign investors'

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Media captionVEB Chairman Vladimir Dmitriev talks about the Russian economy and the new privatisation drive

Foreign investors have expressed interest in buying into Russian state-owned companies, the head of Russia's state-owned development bank has said.

Vnesheconombank chairman Vladimir Dmitriev told the BBC that two trillion roubles ($64bn; £41bn) could be raised in the next three years as a result.

Russia wants to sell stakes in major banks such as VTB and Sberbank, as well as companies still in state hands.

Controlling stakes in some firms could be sold afterward, a minister has said.

Under the current three-year plan, Russia wants to reduce the state's share in some top companies and banks to 50% plus one share.

Russian Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin said that it was only the first step.

"After three years, we think we will go further, it is possible," he said earlier this week.

"On most stakes, we will reduce them by a further 25%."

Budget deficit

Russia wants to use the privatisation drive to reduce its budget deficit.

According to the latest estimate by Mr Kudrin, the 2010 deficit will be 4.6% of gross domestic product.

Mr Dmitriev told the BBC's Russia Business Report that privatisation and borrowing were the two ways to balance Russia's budget.

He also said that "we have potential to involve Russian investors" in the privatisation.

The Russian government plans to sell stakes in state-owned companies including hydroelectric power operator RusHydro, shipping giant Sovkomflot, Russian Railways and oil giant Rosneft.

Russia's First Deputy Prime Minister, Igor Shuvalov said in October that the sale could involve the total or part-sale of stakes in up to 900 companies.

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