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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Kadannikov Bids to Save Telecom Deal

ROME -- First Deputy Prime Minister Vladimir Kadannikov said Thursday he hoped Moscow would not have to hold a new tender for the partial privatization of telecommunications holding company AO Svyazinvest.

"For the moment I hope that it won't have to be repeated," Kadannikov said, but he added that the possibility of a new tender had not been ruled out.

The minister was speaking to reporters at a business convention in Rome, part of his five-day visit to Italy in an effort to win new Italian investment for Russia. Svyazinvest's privatization also is on his agenda.

Kadannikov said Tuesday he hoped to revive a stalled deal to sell part of Svyazinvest to Italian telecommunications company STET SpA.

STET won an investment tender for 25 percent of Svyazinvest last November, but the deal hit a stumbling block a month later when STET failed to make an initial payment, saying it wanted all of the Russian firm's 85 subsidiaries re-registered first.

If the deal had gone forward, it would have been the biggest foreign investment in Russia and the biggest single privatization deal in the country's history.

Kadannikov was scheduled to meet later Thursday with Michele Tedeschi, president of state holding group IRI, which controls STET, and STET managing director Ernesto Pascale.

"A new tender has not been ruled out, but if it is necessary we do not exclude the possibility that STET can bid again," Kadannikov said.