Final List of Big Russian Companies Set for Privatization to Be Announced This Week

Russia’s long-awaited privatization program will take further shape this week when authorities will finalize a list of companies set for sale in 2020-2022, a source familiar with the matter told Reuters on Sunday.

Russia has been delaying the process for years as it was trying to sell some of these companies. Unfavorable market conditions or a lack of readiness by the companies themselves were blamed for the delays.

As previously announced, the list will most likely include oil pipeline monopoly Transneft, railway operator Russian Railways, national air carrier Aeroflot, grid company Rosseti, power firm RusHydro, United Grain Company, and shipping group Sovcomflot, the source said.

Russia’s Finance Ministry declined to comment on the specifics.

“Privatization is seen as a structural measure to reduce the share of government involvement in the economy, aimed at improving the efficiency of company management,” the ministry said in a statement.

In recent years, the government has managed to reduce its stake in VTB bank, diamond miner Alrosa, and some other smaller companies but has fallen short of its initial plan.

Last summer, the Finance Ministry had already proposed including a number of large assets in the program for 2020-2022, mainly from those that were in the old plans, but did not come close to a real sale, including Aeroflot, Zarubezhneft, GTLK, Russian Railways and public TV station Channel One.

Later, Deputy Minister of Economic Development Oksana Tarasenko, who oversees the privatization, said in an interview with Interfax that GTLK and Channel One would most likely not be included in the privatization plan. Also, according to her, the draft program would also include RusHydro, Rosetti, and Transneft.

The Ministry of Economic Development did not agree with the proposal for the privatization of Russian Railways, while the Ministry of Transport spoke out against the privatization of Aeroflot.