Privatization

April 22, 2016 17:53

The Belarusian government could not reach a compromise with the MTS (Mobile Telecommunication Systems) over the price for 51% of the shares.

Belarus wants $ 1 billion, while MTS is ready to buy the package for a "reasonable" price with the potential to pay by installments in the course of several years. As a result, the State Property Committee said, the government will put its stake at an international auction. MTS replied, it will put on sale its stake in parallel with the Belarusian government in that case. 

The Belarusian authorities also initiated the sale of additional shares in the Beltransgaz to the Russian Gazprom, the latter already owes 50% of it. It is not yet clear what shares the Belarusian authorities are ready to sell and at what price. 

Comment

In both cases the Belarusian side was the initiator of the transactions. This fact coupled with the obvious interest in quick return of cash from privatization to renew the foreign currency and gold reserves, makes the bargaining position of the country very weak. Moreover, failure to reach agreement suggests that, regardless of the desire and the need to intensify privatization, the authorities are not prepared to revise their negotiating positions and conditions. At the same time, auctioning shares a concrete investor has interest in, is not an efficient way to maximize profits. 

It is anticipated, that the talks will continue and transactions will be made in the autumn, as the situation in the country deteriorates.