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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

No Rush in Gazprom Stake Sale

The government is in no hurry to sell a stake in natural gas monopoly Gazprom but will offer the bulk of oil firm Onako next week, an official said Wednesday.

State Property Minister Farit Gazizullin said the government would wait until the market was ready to offer between $1 billion and $1.2 billion for a 2.5 percent stake in Gazprom slated for privatization. He said the price it would fetch now would be only $500 million to $550 million.

"We shall not sell Gazprom shares this year, that is for sure," Gazizullin told journalists.

"Probably not next year. Gazprom is such a blue chip ... Why should we hurry? We are going to think about what to do with Gazprom."

The state initially planned to sell the shares last year, but political instability ahead of the presidential election and Russia's shaky economy sapped demand.

But he said the government would announce next week a sale of 85 percent of Onako, the 14th-biggest oil firm, which produced 7.95 million metric tons of oil last year.

Terms under consideration are a $400 million starting price and 150,000 rubles ($5,360) or $50,000 of investment, he said. He said the investment condition would be symbolic.

Gazizullin said he welcomed foreign participation in Russian privatization, adding that some foreign investors had already shown interest in buying Onako.