Cyprus eyes investors, may not need full privatisation: president

Reuters
Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades smiles before testifying to a judicial panel in Nicosia
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Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades smiles before testifying to a judicial panel in Nicosia August 27, 2013. REUTERS/Yiannis Nisiotis

NICOSIA (Reuters) - Cyprus may need to only partly privatise state-owned enterprises to meet one of the conditions of its international bailout, its president was quoted as saying on Sunday.

The 10 billion euro ($13 billion) bailout deal Cyprus reached with the European Union and International Monetary Fund this year envisages selling some state assets.

Authorities could convert state enterprises into joint-stock companies and seek out strategic investors with the state retaining a controlling stake, President Nicos Anastasiades said.

"Part of the share capital could be allocated to a strategic investor, without full disengagement (of the state) from semi-government corporations," Anastasiades was quoted as telling the Kathimerini Cyprus newspaper.

Bailout terms state the process would be on a case-by-case basis, and the methodology could include the sale of shares or assets, licences or concession agreements.

Cyprus assigned PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC) to look into a privatisation strategy for state-owned firms on September 9.

International lenders have identified telecoms company Cyta, the dominant electricity operator and seaport commercial activities as potential privatisation targets, raising about 1.4 billion euros.

It was not clear whether that target assumes full privatisation of these firms. They are known as semi-government corporations, even though they are fully owned by the state.

(Writing by Michele Kambas; Editing by Ruth Pitchford)

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