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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Sell-Offs For 2004 Approved

Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov signed off on the government's privatization program for 2004 over the weekend, providing for the sale of state shareholdings of less than 25 percent.

The 2004 program will be sent to the State Duma as an appendix to next year's draft budget, Interfax reported Monday.

The program will send 1,050 state unitary enterprises and 629 state stakes to the auction block next year. The largest sale will be a 7.6 percent stake in LUKoil, as well as the state's shares in the Novorossiisk, St. Petersburg and Vladivostok sea ports. In the case of the ports, the government will retain a so-called golden share or veto vote.

As part of the government's efforts to modernize the economy next year, 123 state unitary enterprises and 215 blocks of shares will be incorporated into vertically integrated structures of the defense sector. The government plans to complete the privatization process by 2008.

In 2005, the state plans to sell stakes of between 25 percent and 50 percent, and in 2006 it will pull out of companies in which it owns more than 50 percent and which are not on its list of strategically important enterprises.

Earlier, the Property Ministry had said the government plans to raise 35 billion rubles ($1.1 billion) per year from state asset sales in 2004 to 2006, according to a draft program posted on the government's web site. Russia will sell assets both to raise cash to pay debts and improve efficiency by reducing the state's role in the economy.