President Viktor Yushchenko has commented on the auction to sell Odesa Portside Factory, which was conducted regardless of his decree suspending the privatization of this strategic facility, National radio reported.

The President underlined that responsibility for all negative effects of 'this hasty and illegal privatization' of Odesa Portside Factory rests with the Cabinet of Ministers, President's press secretary Iryna Vannikova said. 

According to Yushchenko, the starting price of the factory at UAH 4 billion is beyond criticism, as more than USD 2 billion was offered for the enterprise even a year ago. In Yushchenko's opinion, this hasty privatization is aimed at 'filling the budgetary gaps'. 

According to Yushchenko, Nortima Ltd., a tender challenger, is the company being affiliated with Russia's Gazprom, and this raises questions regarding adherence to the Ukrainian legislation on privatization and interests of national security.

Vannikova said that the President sees such an approach of the government to the privatization of strategic objects as absolutely inadmissible. Ukraine-based Nortima Ltd., the company owned by businessman Ihor Kolomoysky, has today won the auction on the sale of 99.567% stock in JSC Odesa Portside Factory.

In her turn, Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko blamed the participants of the auction due to selling the factory for collusion in order to bring down the price. Tymoshenko also reminded that the President's decree on the cancellation of the factory privatization was issued when about 20 companies from all over the world had filed their applications.

As a result, 'a great number of real investors' refused to participate in the tender as they thought it was too early to invest in Ukraine now.


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