Russian Railways Open to Talks on Summa’s TransContainer Stake

OAO Russian Railways, the state-run rail monopoly, would consider buying Summa Group’s stake in OAO TransContainer, said Alexander Pirkov, spokesman for Chief Executive Officer Vladimir Yakunin.

“So far no one has approached us with an offer to buy Summa’s stake, but when such an offer is made, Russian Railways will consider the terms,” Pirkov said by phone, citing comments made earlier today by Yakunin.

Summa, controlled by billionaire Chairman Ziyavudin Magomedov, is interested in selling its stake, state-run news service RIA Novosti reported, citing an unidentified person. The Moscow-based company holds about 24 percent in TransContainer, RIA said. Konstantin Panin, a vice president at Summa Group, declined to commment when reached by Bloomberg.

The interest comes as Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev’s government is attempting to conduct state asset sales ordered by President Vladimir Putin to bolster the role of the private sector in Russia’s economy. Russian Railways has opposed calls from the Economy Ministry to sell 25 percent to 50 percent of the company as part of the plan.

Russian Railways agreed to contribute its stake of 50 percent plus two shares of TransContainer to create a joint venture with Belarus and Kazakhstan, Yakunin told reporters June 20 in St. Petersburg.

The company may hold an initial public offering in three to five years, TransContainer Director General Peter Baskakov said at the time.

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