UPDATE 1-Ivory Coast to privatise 15 companies including banks, telecom
* Ivory Coast to remain minority shareholder in some cases
* Sale to take place "in the coming months" - govt document
* To sell shares of privately-owned firms on regional bourse (Updates with quotes, details, context)
By Ange Aboa
ABIDJAN, Dec 13 (Reuters) - Ivory Coast plans to sell its stakes in 15 companies, including the national telecoms operator, banks, agribusiness and a gold mine as part of a privatisation drive aimed at cutting the public debt load and increasing competition.
The world's biggest cocoa grower has revived its economy in the wake of a decade-long political crisis that ended in 2011 and is seeking to reduce the total size of its portfolio by 25 percent in the coming months. The government had said in May 2012 it wanted to cut its holdings.
The value of the state's holdings in the 15 companies is estimated at 32.4 billion CFA francs ($67.9 million), according to a finance ministry document seen by Reuters. It did not outline the criteria used to value the companies.
The government of the West African state will remain a minority stakeholder in some of the enterprises.
Ivory Coast, French-speaking West Africa's largest economy, launched its first privatisation drive in the 1990s, raising over 300 billion CFA francs and transferring more than 100 billion CFA francs of debt to the private sector.
But a 1999 coup and subsequent 2002-2011 on-off civil war brought the process to a halt.
For companies which are already majority privately owned, the government will seek to sell its shares on the Abidjan-based regional BRVM bourse to allow Ivorian investors to take part.
The plan, which was approved in a cabinet meeting on Dec. 2, does not specify a timetable for the privatisations stating only that the process is to take place "in the coming months."
President Alassane Ouattara told Reuters in an interview this month he was "in a hurry for it (the sell-off) to be finished."
According to the document, the government plans to sell more than 28 percent of Cote d'Ivoire Telecom valued at 4.27 billion CFA francs. The state currently holds a 48.47 percent stake in the company.
France Cables et Radio, a local unit of France's Orange , owns 51 percent of the company, with the remainder held by Cote d'Ivoire Telecom employees.
GOLD, SUGAR, BANKS
The government will withdraw entirely from four banks. It will put up for sale Versus Bank, which is 100 percent state-owned and valued at 3 billion CFA francs.
It will sell 49 percent of shares it owns in Societe Ivoirienne de Banque (SIB), worth 4.9 billion CFA francs. Morocco's Attijariwafa Bank holds 51 percent of SIB.
For the two other banks, the government will sell off its 83.6 percent stake in BFA and the 10 percent of shares it owns in BIAO-CI, the document said.
The state has already begun a partial withdrawal from gold mine Societe des Mines d'Ity, selling 23 percent of its initial 44 percent stake held by state miner Sodemi since June.
The government will sell all its shares in sugar firms SN SOSUCO and SUCRIVOIRE, meat processor SIVAC, palm oil producer PALMAFRIQUE and Tropical Rubber Cote d'Ivoire.
Two engineering firms, SONITRA and CI Engineering, in which the state has a stake are also on the list to be privatised along with publisher NEI-CEDA and industrial development agency IPS-WA.
($1 = 476.9380 CFA francs) (Additional reporting and writing by Joe Bavier; Editing by Matthew Mpoke Bigg and Jane Merriman)
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