Uzbekistan eyes stake sales in mining giants

Image of the Muruntau Mine in Uzbekistan, the 2nd largest gold mine in the world.

The Uzbek government may sell stakes of 10% each in two large mining and metals companies – Navoi and Almalyk – as well as a 49% stake in the Central Asian nation’s flagship airline, it said on Friday.

The plans were outlined in a draft list of assets slated for privatisation which includes more than a thousand companies and has been made available for public discussion.

The Navoi mining conglomerate accounts for 10% of Uzbekistan’s industrial output and produces uranium, gold and other metals. The Almalyk conglomerate produces copper, molybdenum, silver, and gold.

Most of the other companies on the list are small, but it also includes 11 banks, Uzsanoatqurilishbank (Uzpromstroybank) and Asaka Bank, the country’s No.2 and 3 lenders by assets, among them.

The privatisation plan is part of President Shavkat Mirziyoyev’s economic reform campaign which aims to boost growth and attract foreign investment into the resource-rich nation of 34 million.

(By Mukhammadsharif Mamatkulov and Olzhas Auyezov; Editing by David Evans)

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