Source Pravda.Ru

Slavneft Privatization: Order to Buy?

The competitors are so resolute, that the situation seems to be dangerous
Today, newspapers report that due to the China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) refuse from participation in the auction (where Slavneft company state share holding is being sold), Russia succeeds in preserving its image. Otherwise, a serious out-of-economy scandal could take place. It is no secret that Russian bureaucratic institutions tried to hinder the Chinese company from participation in the auction. So, thank you, Chinese oilmen.

Though the possible international troubles are laughable in comparison with what could happen in Russia itself. Yesterday night, Russian state company Rosneft declared its participation in the auction, which earlier did not intend to fight for Slavneft. Though, there was obviously an order to buy Slavneft. And the situation at once changed. It turned out that the Rosneft branch establishment, Financial Company Rosneft-Finance had registered its application in Russian Fund of Federal Property and executed all necessary demands. Top-managers of Sibneft and Tyumen Oil Company seem to feel offended with such unfriendly step of Russian state which obviously has more money than Russian oligarchs.

On the other hand, is it a privatization? When the state in fact buys the oil company on itself? Such turn could seriously damage the Russia image, much more than the scandal with CNPC. All the more that foreign media already cry about Russian reforms to be hampered by Russian functionaries, and instead turning into a liberal country, Russia turns into a kind of Austrian-Hungarian Empire.

Of course, the state has its reasons not to give a monster like Slavneft. Especially, taking into account the recent tendency to build a kind of mobilization economy and the conception of bowels use proposed by Dmitry Kozak. On the other hand, Russian state is not able to aim for long-term targets. Next year, Russia must pay a solid portion of its foreign debt, so the state probably intends to pump out from Russian oligarchs as much currency as possible. And let them possess Slavneft if they want! While the state will invent something to secure them from “overweight.”

So far, Russian Fund of Federal Property has stopped register applications. The pretenders who sent in their papers before December 15 and paid necessary 450 million rubles (approximately $ 1.5 million) were today acknowledged the auction participants. While the auction takes place tomorrow, at 11.00 a.m. The start price is 1.7 billion dollars. 14 companies are registered as participants.

Dmitry Slobodanuk PRAVDA.Ru

Translated by Vera Solovieva

Read the original in Russian: http://economics.pravda.ru/economics/2002/7/21/62/4451_Slsavneft.html

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