Lebedev Asks Government to Buy Aeroflot Stake

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Lebedev Asks Government to Buy Aeroflot Stake          - Sputnik International
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Russian businessman Alexander Lebedev, who recently announced plans to sell all his assets in Russia, has asked the government to repurchase his stake in flagship airline Aeroflot, Vedomosti business daily reported on Wednesday.

 

Russian businessman Alexander Lebedev, who recently announced plans to sell all his assets in Russia, has asked the government to repurchase his stake in flagship airline Aeroflot, Vedomosti business daily reported on Wednesday.

 

In a letter sent by the owner of National Reserve Corporation to Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, Vice-Premier Dmitry Rogozin and Trade and Industry Minister Denis Manturov on August 8, Lebedev said the issue of selling the 25.8 percent share packages he then held in Aeroflot and Ilyushin Finance Co. had been discussed two years ago and were approved by then-Prime Minister Vladimir Putin.

 

Under the proposed deal, state-owned Aeroflot was expected to repurchase Lebedev’s stake while his share package in Ilyushin Finance Co. was to be bought by national development bank Vnesheconombnak (VEB).

 

Lebedev pledged at the time the sale proceeds would be used by his Red Wings airline to take 44 Tupolev Tu-204SM airliners on lease.

 

The deal fell through at the time, but both VEB and the Industry and Trade Ministry told the paper the negotiations had never been interrupted and were ongoing.

 

Lebedev said in his letter he was ready to sell his remaining 14.5 percent stake in Aeroflot at $1.30 per share, which would value his stake at $217 million in total. Lebedev also said he wanted to spend a part of the proceeds on the lease of a “specified number of Tu-204SM aircraft.”

 

The selling price offered by Lebedev represents a 3-5 percent discount on average market prices, Metropol investment company analyst Andrei Rozhkov told the paper, adding the offer was interesting, considering the Aeroflot management’s plans to list on the London Stock Exchange.

 

Lebedev confirmed plans in early August to sell all his assets in Russia and retire, to fend off what he called “relentless pressure from the authorities.”

 

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