Russia could sell all of Alrosa

The Russian government is looking to triple its revenue from the sale of state owned enterprises as it moves forward with its drawn out privatization programme.

Plans to sell a stake in 90%-owned Alrosa, the largest diamond supplier in the world, would make up a huge chunk of the 300 billion rubles ($9.3 billion) Russia hopes to generate as it attempts to play less of a role in the economy.

A possible deal, according to deputy PM  Igor Shuvalov speaking to Interfax, could well include the state’s entire holding which would be a departure from past policies which saw President Putin block a number of transactions.

The Russian Federal Property Agency (Rosimuschestvo) holds 51% of Alrosa’s shares while the region of Yakutia owns 40%.

Alrosa mined slightly more diamonds than global rival De Beers in 2009, 2010 and 2011. Alrosa accounts for more than a quarter of world output and for 2012 predicts more than $5 billion in revenue by selling almost 35 million carats.

With De Beers going private a decade ago and now being subsumed by Anglo-American direct exposure to diamonds has always been hard to come by.  And the diamond business’ fundamentals continue to improve.

Consultants Bain & Co paint a particularly rosy future for the industry saying global demand will nearly double by the end of the decade thanks to an expanding middle class in China and India.

The company has a stake in an Angolan mine and owns and operates ten open-pit mines and nine alluvial deposits in Russia, including the Mirny pit (pictured), the second-largest man-made hole in the world.

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