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MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russian President Vladimir Putin excluded mid-sized oil producer Bashneft from a list of strategically important companies on Tuesday, paving the way for the sale of the state's majority stake.
The government controls 50 percent plus one share in Bashneft, which was put up for sale as a part of a wider state asset privatization plan for this year aimed at keeping the budget deficit within a 3 percent of GDP target.
Bashneft may be privatized in the first half of this year, TASS news agency quoted Economy Minister Alexei Ulyukayev as saying.
"There is such a possibility. I believe that this is one of the three assets which is most prepared (for privatization)," the agency quoted him telling reporters.
"At the end of this month or early next month we will receive the conclusion of the investment consultant, and then we must move very fast. At the moment we are technically able to be in time (with this privatization) in the first half (of 2016)."
Reporting by Maria Kiselyova; writing by Vladimir Soldatkin and Dmitry Solovyov; editing by Katya Golubkova and David Evans