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Government Budgets

State-Owned Shares Up for Grabs

Governments worldwide need to pay down budget deficits and rekindle investor confidence. One way to do this is to sell big stakes in state-owned companies to local and foreign investors. That's happening in India, Russia, Poland, Malaysia, and Indonesia, among other countries. The markets have been enthusiastic: The stock offering in India's state coal company was heavily oversubscribed. After decades of privatizations, there's plenty left to sell.


Moscow just announced plans to sell stakes in Russia's two largest lenders, VTB Group and Sberbank. That's just the start: Plans are afoot to sell shares in 900 state companies, including oil major Rosneft, airline Aeroflot, Russian Railways, and oil pipeline Transneft. There could be some tempting deals from the city government of Moscow, which may offer up its city-owned companies, including Bank of Moscow and Atlant-Soyuz airline.


Coal India, the world's biggest coal producer, raised $3.4 billion in India's biggest IPO ever. The government plans to sell shares in seven more companies in the next five months. Next up: Power Grid of India, followed by sales in Indian Oil, Oil and Natural Gas, and Steel Authority of India.


The government hopes to raise 25 billion zloty ($8.8 billion) to help the budget. It has already sold stakes in energy, insurance, copper, and phone companies. Investors are waiting for the government to sell a 51 percent stake in power utility Enea and 64 percent in the Warsaw Stock Exchange, the region's biggest.


Khazanah Nasional, the sovereign wealth fund, has been selling stakes in listed companies. Its 32.2 percent stake in Pos Malaysia, the postal service, may soon be sold. A planned offering of Petronas Chemicals, a division of state-owned Petronas, may raise as much as $4.2 billion and be Southeast Asia's biggest IPO this year.

Data: Company, government reports

Power is the Global Economics editor at Bloomberg Businessweek.

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