UES Sells Assets in Online Yard Sale

Kaching.ruItems from the UES office sale include computers, safes and binoculars.
It seems that the occasional media speculation in the past about someone new occupying the chair of Unified Energy System CEO Anatoly Chubais may soon resurface.

UES, which will officially cease to exist on July 1, has begun auctioning off office furniture, electronics and miscellaneous other property, and Chubais' seat might ultimately find its way onto the market.

While a company official said his office armchair would have to be part of a special auction, items including coffee makers, filing cabinets, beds, carpets, fridges and even a karaoke machine are to be auctioned off on the Internet site Kaching.ru.

Almost two-thirds of the 9,784 items that the company is planning to sell by June 20 had already been posted on the site by Thursday. The complete list has been posted on the UES web site

The former state-run electricity monopoly, which has made about $35 billion by spinning off assets to private investors over the last three years, plans to make an additional $1.5 million in parting with these final possessions.

A source in the company said Thursday that Chubais' office chair was just one that she photographed of the 2,000 chairs the company plans to sell off.

"I have taken photos of several items in Chubais' office, including his chair, to put them on the auction web site later," the source said.

The head of the UES press office refused to comment Thursday about the ultimate fate of the chair.

Vladimir Avetesyan, managing director responsible for the sell-off —from the power stations to the blender — called the CEO's office chair "an occult thing" and said the company was planning to hold a special auction for it, Profile magazine reported this week.

As for the rest of the chairs, opening prices run from 250 rubles to 63,000 rubles ($10 to $2,670).

For anyone looking to furnish an apartment or office on the cheap, the sale could be a bonanza.

The main list includes 762 filing cabinets, 922 office telephones (some opening for as low as 100 rubles), 1,121 tables (450 to 21,300 rubles), 107 safes and 57 laptop computers.

The list also contains 139 fridges (650 rubles each), a treadmill (originally purchased for 155,328 rubles, but available for 4,700 rubles, according to the company web site), 38 coffee-grinders, 37 microwaves, 65 televisions, 5 beds, 23 carpets, 47 sofas, 51 wardrobes, 3 pairs of binoculars, 4 DVD players and 10 portable stereos — one with a Karaoke function.

UES spokeswoman Margarita Nagoga said she was thinking of buying the filing cabinet from her own office.

"I have gotten used to it," Nagoga said. "It's very convenient."

One of the most expensive offerings is a complete kitchen set, opening at 161,500 rubles, while ballot boxes used at board meetings are the cheapest — a steal at 100 rubles each.

Those without their own wheels are warned that UES does not deliver, so buyers will have to arrange for the transportation of their purchases.

The information on the UES web site provides the address, floor and office number of its corporate headquarters on Prospekt Vernadskogo.

The building itself has already come under the auctioneer's gavel — sold to the little-known company Intercessia for $175 million in March.

The company official responsible for organizing the auction said the choice of the particular Internet auction site was made on economic and moral considerations.

"I sold our items on Kaching.ru because it was free and it didn't sell pornographic videos, as is the case with some other Internet auction sites," said the official, who declined to give her name because she was not authorized to speak to the press.

Available side by side with the UES items were power drills, cell phones and DVDs of the television series Friends.

As of Thursday evening, there had been few bids for any of the items, with a portable stereo attracting the most interest so far.