29 Mar 2010 18:52

Sheremetyevo Airport may be transferred to management of strategic investor

MOSCOW. March 29 (Interfax) - Sheremetyevo Airport near Moscow may be transferred to the management of a strategic investor, First Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov said at a privatization roundtable at the Economic Development Ministry.

"Perhaps Sheremetyevo and many others," Shuvalov said when asked which state assets might be transferred to the management of private investors.

"We might make a different decision" concerning Sheremetyevo, he said. The government will be assisted in the effort by investment consultants to be selected later, he said.

The government decision on Sheremetyevo will take into account the entire Moscow air transportation hub, so that in the final analysis, Sheremetyevo "competes with Frankfurt, and not Vnukovo and Domodedovo," he said, referring to Moscow's two other airports.

Shuvalov also said the government would not "think up tender terms that will give the inside track to a specific investor."

Finally, Shuvalov said, "the decision [on the transfer] will entail more serious consequences."

Despite the fact that "we have sad experience in privatization on investment terms, that is, when an investor assumes the obligations for technical re-outfitting or building new facilities, but this didn't happen, and today it would be possible to go back to that [practice]," he said. However, the practice of imposing investment obligations would be exclusive in nature. "It would be possible to made such a decision on certain facilities," he said.

One person at the meeting told Interfax that the options for disposing of Sheremetyevo have been discussed in quite a bit of detail. "It was discussed that if Sheremetyevo were to be sold now, it would be at a very low premium. A management company needs to be found for the indivisible airport property complex," Shuvalov said.

Transport Minister Igor Levitin said earlier that it was possible a tender for managing Sheremetyevo property might be held in late 2010.