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    Russia unlikely to privatize largest companies in 2010

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    The Russian government is unlikely to sell stakes in the country's leading companies this year, Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin said on Monday.

    The Russian government is unlikely to sell stakes in the country's leading companies this year, Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin said on Monday.

    "We are not setting such a goal for this year. The (privatization) program is meant to bridge budget deficits in the next three years, it was created to do so. We are not likely to sell state assets in large companies this year," he said.

    The Economic Development Ministry said in July that the privatization list for 2011-2013 included oil pipeline monopoly Transneft, Russia's largest shipping company Sovcomflot, oil major Rosneft, the country's largest banks Sberbank and VTB, the Federal Grid Company of Unified Energy System, the Russian Agricultural Bank, hydropower holding company RusHydro and other assets.

    Kudrin also said the ministry would work out a privatization plan for years to come by the start of 2011.

    He said it was reasonable to sell as large a stake as possible in VTB bank providing that the state preserved control.

    Foreign investors are welcome as the state will only sell non-controlling stakes, he added.

    MOSCOW, August 30 (RIA Novosti)

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