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Russia To Privatize Firms At Market Price, Putin Says


"Privatizations must neither be free nor privileged. If federal property must be sold, it should be sold at the real market price, without any discount," Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said.

"Privatizations must neither be free nor privileged. If federal property must be sold, it should be sold at the real market price, without any discount," Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said.

MOSCOW (Reuters) -- Russia must sell stakes in state-run companies at market price when it launches a new round of privatizations to help pull the economy out of its first recession in a decade, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said.

Putin, chairing a meeting on Russia's privatization strategy on October 6, said potential investors should not be offered any discounts to the market value of companies put on the block.

"Privatizations must neither be free nor privileged. If federal property must be sold, it should be sold at the real market price, without any discount," Putin said at the opening of the meeting.

Putin has promised to launch a new Russian privatization drive. Officials have said minority stakes in shipping firm Sovkomflot, agricultural equipment-leasing firm Rosagroleasing, and some sea ports and airports could be first up for sale.

Finance Minister Aleksei Kudrin said on October 5 that Russia should reduce state and regional authorities' ownership of business to 30 percent or less, from about 50 percent currently.

Putin said the state had widened its presence in the economy during the financial crisis, which has pushed Russia into recession following a decade of oil-fuelled economic boom.

"It was the natural reaction of the state to the private sector's inability, at times, to cope alone with their growing problems in conditions of financial crisis, and a result of the private sector's urgent appeals to the government for help."

He added: "We are looking at privatization as one of the key tools of structural reform in the real economy.

"In each case we must thoroughly examine how realistic the need to attract additional investment is, whether positive changes can occur within a company and whether interests of national security are catered for -- especially if dealing with strategic enterprises."
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