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Georgia Wants KazTransGaz to Take Back Control of Local Unit

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Dec. 10 (Bloomberg) -- Georgia wants KazTransGaz, Kazakhstan’s state natural-gas shipping monopoly, to take back control of its local unit.

Talks for the Kazakh company to resume its leadership of OOO KazTransGaz Tbilisi took place in November, according to Mariam Valishvili, Georgia’s deputy energy and natural resources minister.

“We expect some solution of this problem,” she said today by phone. The Georgian government wants the Kazakh company to pay off debt owed by its local unit, she said.

Georgia’s energy regulator installed a new chief executive officer at KazTransGaz Tbilisi in March 2009, the Astana-based company said at the time, without giving a reason. KazTransGaz said it has invested $100 million in the Tbilisi unit since buying the then-bankrupt Tbilgaz retailer from the Georgian government in 2006.

KazTransGaz Tbilisi’s $50 million debt to Georgia may be settled by writing off the Caucasian state’s debt to Kazakhstan, Energy and Natural Resources minister Kakha Kaladze said last month, according to Interfax.

Murat Kozhamkulov, a spokesman for KazTransGaz, declined to comment.

To contact the reporter on this story: Helena Bedwell in Tbilisi at hbedwell@bloomberg.net Nariman Gizitdinov in Almaty, via the Moscow newsroom at ngizitdinov@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Stephen Voss at sev@bloomberg.net

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