Russia in 'No Hurry' to Privatize: Minister

CNBC

The woman in charge of Russia's privatization program told CNBC on Friday that the country is in no hurry to sell off its state-owned assets because market conditions are not optimal.

The remarks by Olga Dergunova, who is both the deputy economics minister and director of the state's property management agency, come as the Russian government announced it would sell its stake in state-controlled bank VTB Capital. Dergunova told CNBC that the secondary share issue would probably go ahead by July.

VTB's competitor Sberbank raised $5.2 billion in a secondary offering in 2012. State-run diamond miner Alrosa is planning a secondary listing later this year, while another state-run firm, tanker company Sovcomflot is planning an initial public offering, Dow Jones reported on Friday.

(Read More: Why Russia Is Set to Become a Big Dividend Play )

Russia unveiled a number of reforms in 2012 including privatization and new accounting regulations, aimed at making the country more investor-friendly.

However, it has been criticized for delaying sales of state assets - such as its stake in oil giant Rosneft - and making slow progress in its reform program, charges which Dergunova denied.

(Read More: Russian Officials Seek to Reassure on Privatization )

"We are serious in the government about decreasing the presence of the State in the national economy...but the timing is set quite broadly, we have at least two to five years ahead of us to get these assets ready and in a better shape and then depending on the market reality to wait for market conditions to see when to go and conduct the deal," Dergunova said.

"We are not in a rush, and that's the clear message which we are saying to the investment community, it's not about the fiscal budget any more. Russia is not [using] the money to fund the economy, we have enough reserves to fund the national economy," she added.

(Read More: As Russian Firms List Abroad, Is Now the Time to Invest? )

"If the market and commodities market are not good, we are not in a rush," she added.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said at the start of the year that privatizations of state-controlled companies should be done through Russia's stock exchanges, rather than through foreign ones.

Dergunova conceded that the Moscow Exchange infrastructure needed to be developed and she said it was the first choice for Russia, rather than foreign exchanges.

"We did consider all the exchanges around the globe but when it comes to the decision and first choice, we need to help utilize and develop the capacity of the Moscow stock exchange...but it needs other corporates there too to do this," she said.

-By CNBC's Holly Ellyatt, follow her on Twitter @HollyEllyatt



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