Russia electricity trader to be part of nuclear firm

MOSCOW (Reuters) - President Vladimir Putin decreed on Thursday that all state-owned shares in Russia’s electricity import-export firm, Inter RAO, be handed over to state nuclear energy corporation Rosatom.

“The government of the Russian Federation is ordered to bring its documents in conformity with this decree by March 1, 2009,” Putin said in a document posted on the official Web site (

Inter RAO, which handles international trading of electricity, is 60 percent owned by Russia’s former electricity monopoly, Unified Energy System (UES). The rest is already owned by Rosatom.

UES is spinning off Inter RAO as part of a sweeping reform of Russia’s power sector. UES is selling all of its assets, mainly to private investors, to introduce a viable and competitive electricity market.

The government had repeatedly said it would keep control of Inter RAO, which it sees as a strategic asset, after the Soviet-era monopoly RAO UES is broken up in July.

Shortly after the publication of Putin’s decree, Inter RAO said it hoped to become Rosatom’s core division to promote its business abroad.

“Today’s event was an expected one for us,” RIA news agency quoted Inter RAO spokesman Boris Zverev as saying. “It adds certainty to Inter RAO’s future and opens new horizons for the company’s development.”

Reporting by Dmitry Solovyov; Editing by John Wallace