As Russia’s recession drags on thanks to the slumping oil price, sanctions and capital outflows, there has been widespread talk that the Russian state could sell off stakes in state companies to plug gaps in the budget.
But Russian President Vladimir Putin poured cold water on the speculation Tuesday, saying the timing was not right and that there would be no giveaways of state assets at “bargain basement” prices.
“There should be no sale of shares cheaply, at giveaway prices. This won’t bring particular benefit to the budget,” Putin said at a meeting focusing on privatization in Russia in the coming year.
Majority state-owned banks Sberbank and VTB Bank, as well as oil giant Rosneft, have been targeted by analysts as possible candidates for a sell-off. However, the timing of such a move has raised eyebrows in the investment community — particularly when Russian markets are witnessing investor nervousness about the macro-economic situation.