The Ukrainian government at a meeting on Monday decided to put an entire state stake in telecoms giant OJSC Ukrtelecom up for sale, Deputy Prime Minister Sergiy Tigipko told Interfax-Ukraine on Tuesday.

"We're putting an entire stake in Ukrtelecom up for sale," he said.

Head of the State Property Fund of Ukraine Oleksandr Riabchenko said earlier that a tender for Ukrtelecom's privatization would have to be called by August 15, 2010 so that the expected proceeds of at least UAH 10 billion could go towards meeting the budgeted privatization target for the year. However, Ukraine then delayed the launch of Ukrtelecom's privatization by a month and planned to offer 92.79% of the national provider at an auction in September rather than August.

Ukraine has been trying to sell Ukrtelecom off since the late 1990s, but has only succeeded in selling shares for a discount.

The government led by former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko tried to sell all but a 25% plus one share stake in 2008, asking UAH 1.04 per share, or UAH 13.2 billion for the whole 67.79% that was being offered. The price was later lowered to UAH 12 billion. Ukraine then planned to put the 67.79% up for auction in December 2009.

Ukrtelecom's net profit was UAH 47.97 million in January-June 2010, compared with losses of UAH 124.13 million in the same period of last year. Net revenue grew by 3.3% to UAH 3.403 billion.

In 2009, Ukrtelecom reduced net losses by 3.3 times to UAH 456.43 million, increasing net revenue by 3.4% to UAH 6.87 billion.


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