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    Russian electricity monopoly's annual shareholders meeting opens

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    MOSCOW, June 29 (RIA Novosti) - The annual general meeting of shareholders of Unified Energy Systems (RAO UES), Russia's electricity monopoly, opened Wednesday in Zelenograd, near Moscow.

    Stockholders with an overall 90.27% of the company's shares have been registered for the AGM.

    Several issues are on the agenda, including the approval of the company's annual budget and annual financial reports, including the profit and loss statement, as well as the distribution of profits and losses and dividends based on the financial year's results. The meeting will elect a Board of Directors and Audit Commission, and approve an auditor for 2005.

    The government has a majority stake 52.68% in UES, and Gazprom, Russia's natural gas monopoly holds 10.6% of the shares in UES.

    Anatoly Chubais, UES chief executive, said before the meeting that UES had improved its production and financial results in 2004.

    "It is important that production growth was maintained in combination with falling growth rates for tariffs," Chubais said, adding that the tariffs in electric-power industry had risen below Russia's annual inflation rate.

    According to Chubais, UES boosted electricity production in 2004 by 2.5% year on year, and its revenues and net profit for the same period were up 22% and 22% correspondingly. In 2004, UES continued intensive construction work. In particular, it commissioned the third generating unit of Bureya Hydroelectric Power Station (Amur region in East Siberia), and continued developing its electric city network.

    Chubais said he was satisfied with company's results in 2004.

    He has admitted that the national leadership had been critical of UES.

    When answering a question about how long he intended to head UES, Chubais said: "I intend to do everything that was planned and see it through to the end."

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