MOSCOW May 20 Russian state-controlled telecoms operator Rostelecom may sell more than $500 million worth of treasury shares to reduce debt, its newly appointed chief executive Sergei Kalugin said on Monday.
Rostelecom currently owns around 5 percent of its own shares through the Mobitel subsidiary.
"The debt level seems high to me. We have a large stake of treasury shares, and this is not very good ... we can sell these shares, we are thinking about it," Kalugin told reporters.
Kalugin said direct investment funds had already expressed interest, adding the company has yet to select lead-managers for the private placement.
Rostelecom's net debt stood at 203.1 billion roubles ($6.46 billion) at the end of 2012, with net debt-to-OIBDA (operating income before depreciation and amortisation) ratio at 1.7.
The company has a market capitalisation of $11.3 billion, valuing a 5 percent stake at $565 million. ($1 = 31.4240 Russian roubles) (Reporting by Anastasia Teterevleva; Writing by Maria Kiselyova; Editing by David Cowell)