Ukraine eyes telco, chemicals plant sales in 2009

15:29, 03 December 2008
Ukraine
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Ukrtelekom and the Odessa Port Plant

Ukraine aims to privatise a major state telecoms company and a large chemical plant in 2009 after political wrangling prevented their sale this year, the transports and communication minister said on Wednesday, Reuters reported.

Authorities have wanted to sell Ukrtelekom and the Odessa Port Plant for over a decade but political infighting and legal cases have stopped any sale.

Transport Minister Yosip Vinsky told reporters that both were on a privatisation list for next year, as well as several regional energy firms.

Vinsky said earlier in the year that a 68 percent stake in Ukrtelekom, the dominant fixed-line operator, which entered the mobile market late last year, could fetch as much as $7 billion.

A starting price of $2.4 billion was later set but an auction never took place.

If successful, the deal would have exceeded Ukraine`s largest privatisation to date, the sale of the country`s largest steel mill in 2005 to ArcelorMittal for almost $5 billion.

The government has also previously set a starting price of $600 million for the Odessa Port Plant, a fertiliser producer. Its sale was blocked by President Viktor Yushchenko on antitrust grounds, saying the buyer would have too much leverage in the market.

The government this year has made no significant sale of state firms and will fall far short of a target of $1.6 billion in revenues from privatisations.

Reuters
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