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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Future Svyazinvest Sale 2-3 Years Away

Russia's government, which owns three quarters of national telecoms holding Svyazinvest, will not sell a 25-percent stake in the company before restructuring is completed, a government official said Wednesday.

Svyazinvest, which controls most telecoms companies in the 89 regions across the country and Russia's biggest long-distance operator, Rostelekom RTKM.RTS, has said restructuring of the national telecoms system would take two to three years.

"It makes no sense to consider selling a new stake now, before restructuring is done. When it is over, we will consider the issue," Alexander Borodin, head of the Property Ministry's transportation and communications department, told Reuters.

The government sold a 25 percent plus one share stake in 1997 for $1.9 billion. It has long postponed the planned sale of another stake of 25 percent minus two shares, citing unfavourable market conditions.

Borodin said the government might consider selling a bigger stake if its policy in the telecommunications sector changed.

"If the government decides to withdraw from the sector, retaining only administrative influence, such as tariff policy and issuing licenses, then, maybe we will sell a bigger stake," Borodin said.

Svyazinvest plans to merge regional operators into seven super-regional companies that would be better equipped to attract investment and develop the sector.