UPDATE 1-RusHydro may issue new shares -Energy Minister

Wed Apr 25, 2012 6:47am EDT

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MOSCOW, April 25 (Reuters) - Russia's state-controlled hydroelectric power giant RusHydro may issue additional shares to finance its investment programme, Energy Minister Sergei Shmatko told journalists on Wednesday.

The company, which issued a Eurobond last year to raise more than $500 million, has been struggling to generate enough profit for its investment commitments in the face of lower than expected electricity tariffs.

"There is one question: what are the sources of financing? Either an increase in the loan portfolio or, we believe, there is a reason for an additional issue," Shmatko said.

Shares in RusHydro were up 2 percent at 1006 GMT, outperforming the wider market.

Industry experts believe some $500 million needs to be spent on Russia's power infrastructure to prevent regular black-outs and disasters such as the Sayano-Shushenskaya power station explosion that killed 75 people in 2009.

RusHydro, Russia's biggest hydroelectric power producer, is on the auction block, with the government hoping for a full sale of its 58 percent stake by 2017.

It was part-privatised as part of the wider break-up of Russia's power sector last decade. Grid firms FSK and MRSK could also be sold down over the next five years. (Reporting by Anastasia Lyrchikova; Writing by John Bowker and Katya Golubkova; Editing by Elaine Hardcastle)

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