Bieltransgaz not to be sold until autumn

Gazprom will not purchase second half of Bieltransgaz shares until autumn, informed Heorhiy Kuzniacov, head of the State Treasury. „Negotiations are really difficult“ he added.

„If the talks concerned only the sale, we wouldn’t have any major problems. But there are some additional details that need to be discussed, such as quantity, prices“ – said Kuzinacov.

The board chairman of „Gazprom“, Aleksey Miller after one of the last talks with the Belarusian deputy prime minister, Uladzimir Siemashka informed that for Belarusians the basic condition to sign a deal on Bieltransgaz is reaching an agreement on gas delivery from Russia.

The value of 51% of shares of Bieltransgaz owned by a cell phone company TAA „MTS“, which is meant to be sold too, is still to be estimated. Belarus claims their value amounts to 960 to 970 million dollars. Russians, according to the head of State Treasury, offered to buy it for 400 – 500 million dollars.

Kuzniacov also informed that privatization in Belarus is slowed down by numerous obstacles. Directors of the state-owned companies and local authorities oppose selling them to private owners. The former ones realize that they will lose their jobs after privatization, because they have been inefficient as managers.

„That’s why they interrupt the privatization teams, scare them, block auctions. Such was the case of Food Factory in Lid, which was supposed to be sold in an auction. When a serious investor appeared, the auction was called off“ – said Kuzniacov.

Another obstacle in privatization is posed by Belarusian ministries and state administration, who deterred potential investors by setting up high prices.

Belarus, in order to receive a credit form the Eurasian Economic Commonwealth, had to commit to privatizing state-owned companies worth 2.5 million dollars.


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