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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Lebedev Considers Selling His Aeroflot Shares, Rosneft-Style

Billionaire Alexander Lebedev said he might dispose of his 30 percent stake in Aeroflot in a share sale similar to those by Rosneft and Sberbank.

"This is a fresh idea, to sell Aeroflot shares from corporate hands to retail investors," Lebedev, a State Duma deputy, said Friday.

"It will be like people's capitalism. The Kremlin may like it," he said.

Lebedev said he had already proposed the idea to the Kremlin and the airline's board of directors.

Rosneft raised $10.6 billion selling a 15 percent stake in July in the country's largest stock sale.

Sberbank is seeking to raise $12 billion by selling as many 3.5 million new shares through its nationwide bank network. VTB Group, the country's second-biggest bank, plans to raise as much as $4.6 billion by selling one-quarter of its stock this year.

Yelena Sakhnova, a transportation analyst with Deutsche UFG, said she welcomed the idea of a stock sale. "Aeroflot has two problems: it's overstaffed and it has a low free float," she said. "The shares will at last become available on the market."

Sakhnova estimated that Aeroflot's freely traded shares amounted to 5 percent to 8 percent of the total stock. She saw the fair value of Aeroflot shares at $3.20 apiece and expected it to rise to $4 once the free float is increased. Aeroflot shares currently trade at about $2.75.

Aeroflot deputy head Lev Koshlyakov said he was not yet familiar with the idea. "Aeroflot becoming a more active participant of the stock market is not the main task of either the management or the state," he said.

Koshlyakov said the company would put more effort into consolidating regional carriers under its wing this year.

Aeroflot is 51 percent controlled by the state.