Inter RAO Electricity Firm to Be Folded Into Rosatom

President Vladimir Putin has decreed that all state-owned shares in the country's electricity import-export firm, Inter RAO, be handed over to state nuclear energy corporation Rosatom and signed into law other measures to create the corporation.

"The government of the Russian Federation is ordered to bring its documents in conformity with this decree by March 1, 2009," Putin said in a document posted on the Kremlin web site late last week.

Inter RAO, which handles international trading of electricity, is 60 percent owned by former electricity monopoly Unified Energy System. The rest is already owned by Rosatom.

UES is spinning off Inter RAO as part of a sweeping reform of the country's power sector. UES is selling all of its assets, mainly to private investors, to introduce a viable and competitive electricity market.

The government had repeatedly said it would keep control of Inter RAO, which it sees as a strategic asset, after UES is broken up in July.

Shortly after the publication of Putin's decree, Inter RAO said it hoped to become Rosatom's core division to promote its business abroad.

"Today's event was an expected one for us," RIA-Novosti quoted Inter RAO spokesman Boris Zverev as saying. "It adds certainty to Inter RAO's future and opens new horizons for the company's development."

The decree also abolished the Federal Atomic Energy Agency, and approved a list of state stakes in open joint-stock companies and unitary state enterprises that will be transferred to Rosatom, Interfax reported.