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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Kudrin Sees 70 Russian Firms Holding IPOs Within 2 Years

More than 70 Russian firms are planning to float their shares in Russia and abroad in the next two years, adding to the already heavy load of Russian public offerings, Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin said Friday.

Analysts expect Russian firms to raise as much as $30 billion via IPOs this year. No. 2 bank VTB raised $8 billion earlier this month in the world's largest stock market float of 2007.

Authorities blame IPOs and enormous borrowings in the West by state and private firms for higher than expected capital inflows, which put additional pressure on the government's inflation targets.

As the government cannot allow inflation to soar ahead of national elections in the next year, the Central Bank, which has only weak monetary policy instruments, is forced to allow the value of the ruble to appreciate.

That in turn erodes the competitiveness of Russia's key export-oriented industries.

Some 15 Russian firms floated their shares in 2006, raising $16.7 billion, which Kudrin said put Russia in fifth place in the world by the number of IPOs and 13th in total stock market capitalization, with $1.32 trillion.

Analysts say the huge increase in equity investments on offer in Russia has contributed to a lackluster stock market so far this year. Investors who were once fishing for bargains in a small pool now have a far larger range of choice.

The country's booming economy is giving Kudrin another headache: how to spend it. The government has amassed more than $113 billion of windfall oil revenues in the stabilization fund, meant to prop up future state budgets when oil revenues are low.

President Vladimir Putin last Monday suggested some of the money could go to support Russian stock markets, but backtracked three days later, saying there were no plans to do so.