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    GAZPROM HEADS RULES OUT GAZPROM PRIVATIZATION

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    LONDON, April 8 (RIA Novosti) - Alexei Miller, Gazprom head rules out a possible privatization of the Russia's largest gas holding, however, he intends to turn the company into one of the world's largest energy companies. He told this in his interview with 'The Financial Times'.

    Mr Miller fully ruled out a possible division or privatization of the company, which in opinion of many analysts is a condition for Russia's transfer to free market economy.

    "We are not discussing this issue," Gazprom head stressed. "Gazprom was created as a single facility, which extracts, produces and transports gas. Only Gazprom being a big company and having considerable investment programs can explore Russia's main gas deposits." Alexei Miller emphasized that the number of state-owned Gazprom shares would be increased. "Government's share in the company must increase," Mr Miller believes.

    At the same time, he said that he was looking forward to liberalization of the company's shares. At present, foreign investors can buy Gazprom shares placed as depositary receipts. However, they are prohibited from buying them directly from the holding.

    "Once these restrictions are lifted, Gazprom's weight among the indicators of the developing countries will increase and this will be an impetus for market capitalization," The Financial Times reads.

    According to Mr Miller, Gazprom will become "one of the world's largest vertically integrated energy groups".

    "We see us as an integrated diversified energy (let me stress this word) company, which will be one of the largest in the world," Alexei Miller said.

    A combination of German Ruhrgas and Eon companies is an example of such integration in the West.

    At present, Gazprom owns 10 percent of shares of RAO "Unified Energy Systems" (RAO UES), Gazprom plans to take on activities with liquefied natural gas, which makes it possible to enter the US energy markets.

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