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Russia gets $813m for stake in diamond company Alrosa

Image courtesy of ALROSA.

Russia’s government has completed the sale of a 10.9% stake in state-controlled miner Alrosa (MCX:ALRS), the world’s top diamond producer by output in carats, in what is the first of a series of planned partial privatizations to cover a budget deficit.

Deal is the first of many major state-asset sales aimed at shoring up the country’s budget, suffering from weak prices for oil, Russia’s main export.

The 52.2 billion roubles ($813.05 million) achieved with the placement in Moscow, announced Monday, is the largest Russian state-asset sale in almost four years. The sum will be used to help shore up the country’s budget, which is suffering from weak prices for its main export — crude oil.

Economy Minister Alexei Ulyukayev said foreign investors snapped up around 60% of the shares offered in Alrosa, adding that American investors largely stayed away from the deal, partly due to fears of falling foul of the US Treasury, reports (subs. required).

Russia has said it would sell stakes in other state-owned firms this year, including oil producers Rosneft and Bashneft, as well as shipping company Sovcomflot.

But First Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov said later in the day that the government had dropped the idea of selling a 19.5% in Rosneft, and it’s now favouring strategic investors instead, local new agency Tass reports.

Rosneft is the world’s largest listed oil company by production.