4 Aug 2010 12:19

Ukraine moves Ukrtelecom privatization back a month

KYIV. Aug 4 (Interfax) - Ukraine has delayed the launch of Ukrtelecom's privatization by a month and now plans to offer 92.79% of the national provider at an auction in September rather than August.

The State Property Fund said in its privatization bulletin on Wednesday that it had authorized changes to the privatization plan for companies in H2 2010 on July 30.

The Fund's chief, Oleksandr Ryabchenko, had said a tender for Ukrtelecom's privatization would have to be called by August 15 so that the expected proceeds of at least UAH 10 billion could go towards meeting the budgeted privatization target for the year.

But First Deputy Prime Minister Andrei Kluyev said in June that Ukrtelecom's privatization would not be on the agenda in the next month or two.

Ukraine has been trying to sell Ukrtelecom off since the late 1990s, but has only succeeded in selling shares for a discount.

The Tymoshenko government tried to sell all but a 25% plus one share stake in 2008, asking UAH 1.04 per share, or UAH 13.2 billion for the whole 67.79% that was being offered. The price was later lowered to UAH 12 billion. Ukraine then planned to put the 67.79% up for auction in December 2009.

Ukrtelecom is currently trading at UAH 0.64 a share (UAH 7.8916/$1) on Aug. 4).

Ukrtelecom's net profit was UAH 47.97 million in H1 2010, compared with losses of UAH 124.13 million in the same period of last year. Net revenue grew 3.3% to UAH 3.403 billion.

Net profit fell more than two-thirds to UAH 456.53 billion in FY 2009, but revenue grew 3.4% to UAH 6.87 billion.