RZD Delays 2 Public Offerings Until 2011

AKTYUBINSK, Kazakhstan — Russian Railways will delay initial public offerings of two subsidiaries planned for this year until no earlier than 2011 because of poor market conditions, president Vladimir Yakunin said Monday.

"We planned for this year, but we have to take into account the current situation on financial markets," Yakunin told reporters.

"It will take at least a year for the situation to stabilize. … [The share sales] won't be earlier than 2011," he added.

The offerings will include up to 35 percent of Transcontainer, the country's largest rail container operator, and up to 50 percent of RevService, which focuses on the refrigerated rail transport of perishable goods, Yakunin said.

He added that the value of Transcontainer is currently $2.5 billion.

"It is not our goal to sell these stakes at any price, and we are ready to delay these offerings until a later date," senior vice president Fyodor Andreyev said in a statement released later Monday.

The statement, citing decisions made by the board, said up to 20 percent of Transcontainer and up to 25 percent plus one share of RevService would be sold.

RZD spokespeople were unavailable to clarify Yakunin's earlier statement that much larger stakes could be sold.

Last month RZD said it would float 20 percent of Transcontainer on the domestic market in October or November 2008, with a London float set for 2009.