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08/11/1998 15:46:50 Russia opens Svyazinvest tender to foreigners

MOSCOW, Aug 11 (Reuters) - Russia will allow foreign

investors to bid in an investment tender for a 25 percent stake

minus two shares in the national telecom holding Svyazinvest, a

decree signed by President Boris Yeltsin on Tuesday said.

According to previous Svyazinvest privatisation plans, the

stake was meant exclusively for Russian investors.

Last year a consortium led by Russia's UNEXIM Bank bought a 25 percent plus one share

blocking stake in Svyazinvest for $1.9 billion in a deal which provoked bitter political

controversy.

The state intends to keep a controlling stake of 50 percent plus one share in

Svyazinvest.

The Property Ministry said in June it expected to sell the non-blocking 25 percent

minus two shares in Svyazinvest for about $1.5 billion.

Sales of the Svyazinvest stake, as well as stakes in oil companies Rosneft<PFGS.RTS>

and LUKoil <LKOH.RTS> and in gas giant Gazprom<GAZPq.L>, could form the lion's share of

privatisation revenues in the second half of this year.

((Aleksandras Budrys, Moscow Newsroom, +7095 941-8520 moscow.newsroom@reuters.com))

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