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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Reiman: Foreigners Welcome

Foreign ownership in telecommunications companies in Russia will not be limited, and foreign investors will be courted to finance much of the state-run?industry, Reuters reported Communications Minister Leonid Reiman as saying.

The ministry had earlier mentioned the possibility of putting a cap on foreign stakes, including the idea in its 10-year, $33 billion plan to develop the telecoms industry, presented in Dec. 2000. Since then, the ministry has given few comments on how such limitations would look -- which kept investors on the alert for unwanted state interference.

"I said earlier that we would try first to attract Russian investors, but this was more a declaration," Reiman said in the interview, published Wednesday. "There are no formal limits and we are not planing to introduce any."

Analysts applauded Reiman's statements, saying that with telecoms companies aiming to attract investment amid a current state-driven consolidation, the ministry can't afford to scare off potential cash flows. Reiman said they would seek both Russian investors and those active on European and U.S. markets.

The ministry's responsibilities extend to the Internet and postal services, and it has plans to install 1,860 Internet access points in post offices by the end of 2001 -- a $1.5 million program to be financed by postal services, Interfax reported.

Reiman said Russia's demand for Internet services is unsatisfied and growth is stunted by the price of computers.

Reiman laid out two main goals regarding changes to the country's ailing postal system. "First, to make mail service more effective. It's no secret that today there are considerable complaints about the speed and quality of mail delivery," Interfax reported him as saying. "The second goal is to create an infrastructure that will make money."