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    Power generating assets to raise $15bln at share offerings

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    MOSCOW, December 14 (RIA Novosti) - The energy minister said Thursday the government aims to raise up to 400 billion rubles ($15 billion) through newly issued shares in wholesale generating companies.

    Russia's generating assets are being gradually privatized in ongoing power sector reforms aimed at attracting investment and improving efficiency.

    "In 2006-2007 we plan to attract from 100 billion to 152 billion rubles ($3.8 billion to $5.8 billion) by floating shares in wholesale generating companies, and between 153 billion and 244 billion rubles (from $5.8 billion to $9.3 billion) for territorial generating companies," Industry and Energy Minister Viktor Khristenko said at a government meeting on power sector reforms.

    The minister said five generating companies controlled by electricity monopoly Unified Energy System - WGC-3, WGC-4, TGC-1, TGC-5 and TGC-3 (Moscow-based Mosenergo utility) - are set to place additional shares by August next year.

    Preparations for the placement of additional shares by the remaining thermal power generating assets are expected to be completed in the third quarter of 2007, the minister said.

    Russia's power sector is undergoing radical changes aimed at increasing the efficiency of power plants and developing the industry by attracting investment. Once the reforms are complete, the potentially competitive sectors of the industry - generation, sales and repair companies - will become mainly private and will compete with one another. However, natural monopolies - power transmission and dispatching - will remain state-controlled

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