Ex-Putin govt official's firm may bid in state port sale-paper

MOSCOW Mon Jan 14, 2013 11:01am GMT

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MOSCOW Jan 14 (Reuters) - A small Russian refiner owned by ex-government official Vladimir Kogan has declared an interest in bidding for a stake in Russia's biggest port operator which the government wants to sell, a newspaper reported.

Citing sources close to the port operator and the government, business daily Vedomosti said on Monday refiner Neftegazindustria wrote to First Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov to declare an interest in the sale.

Vedomosti identified the company's owner as Vladimir Kogan, who was head of a state construction agency responsible for housing and utility construction in the government of Vladimir Putin, who returned to the Kremlin last year for a third term as president after serving a term as prime minister.

The government intends to sell a 20 percent stake in Novorossiisk Commercial Sea Port (NMTP) as part of a new wave of privatisations that began last year and which aims to raise up to $20 billion for state coffers.

Neftegazindustria owns the 100,000 barrels per day Afipsky refinery in southern Russia. Company officials were not immediately available for comment.

If it bids it would be competing with state oil company Rosneft and port investor Summa. The latter, which shares control of NMTP with state oil pipeline monopoly Transneft, had been set to square off with Rosneft for the stake.

NMTP's key assets are Novorossiisk Commercial Sea Port and the port of Primorsk. Both are key outlets for oil delivered by Transneft.

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