Less active investors might let the chance go by

Belarus to privatise over 200 stock companies over coming three years

By Vladimir Yakovlev

Belarus regularly organises auctions to find shareholders for small and medium-sized companies (those with state capital). From June-July 2011 alone, the country’s budget received Br38bn from this source, explains the Chairman of the State Property Committee, Georgy Kuznetsov. Most funds were generated from the privatisation of wood-paper and wood processing facilities. In particular, large packages of assets were sold from three furniture factories; 20 enterprises from this branch are set to be privatised this year.

According to Belarus’ Prime Minister, Mikhail Myasnikovich, 250 enterprises countrywide are scheduled for privatisation in 2011. “These include firms producing construction materials, accommodation building companies and light industry facilities,” he explains. “Companies from the EU and China are showing huge interest not only in our raw material and infrastructure firms, but in the processing branch. We’ve sold several furniture factories, while IKEA company is to build several factories here. We are offering our cement and gypsum making plants, with the Germans already demonstrating keen interest.” Among those companies being privatised are Baranovichi Reinforced Concrete Products Plant, Brest Electromechanical Plant and several construction trusts; the ten most important facilities are to be sold via the recently established National Investment Agency, with consultations rendered by the International Finance Corporation.

Mr. Myasnikovich has negotiated with the IFC while the World Bank is to join the Austrian Government in allocating $5m for the privatisation of these ten pilot enterprises. Other facilities are to be sold at auction. If no interest is shown at the initial stage, then prices will be cut significantly. According to Mr. Kuznetsov, in the coming three years, the country plans to earn $620-680m from privatisation but, importantly, these companies will gain efficient owners who’ll inject great funds into modernisation, competitive production and the search for new sales markets.

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