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    Presidential aide speaks out against IPOs of state companies

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    MOSCOW, December 21 - The Russian president's economic adviser spoke out Wednesday against initial public stock offerings (IPOs) of state companies.

    Speaking at a Moscow press conference, Andrei Illarionov called the idea counterproductive as money raised from state-controlled companies' floatation would be used to pay off their debts rather than contributing to the treasury coffers.

    Illarionov said the IPO idea in Russia had first been promoted by electricity monopoly Unified Energy System (UES), but has now been adopted in relation to many other state-owned companies, specifically oil major Rosneft, preparing for an IPO in 2006.

    Last year, Illarionov harshly criticized the idea of spending money from Russia's Stabilization Fund on domestic projects rather than using it exclusively to repay the nation's external debt. He argued this would undermine macroeconomic stability and spur inflation.

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