December 3, 2019 / 3:19 PM / 3 days ago

Ukraine to start big-ticket privatisation push in 2020

LONDON, Dec 3 (Reuters) - Ukraine is planning to sell five large state-owned enterprises in 2020 with the first auction expected within six months, said the head of the State Property Fund, Dmytro Sennychenko.

First off the starting blocks will be United Mining and Chemical Company, Sennychenko said, while generator manufacturer Elekrtovazhmash and a hotel in central Kiev are set to follow shortly after.

“We will see the privatisation of big companies, of at least three to five (of them) in the next year,” Sennychenko told Reuters on the sidelines of an investment conference, adding he had appointed a number of banks and consultants to the process.

“We started working with them on due diligence, changing management and disclosing data,” he said.

The fund will sell 100% of the companies through an auction process, he said. There will be no restrictions on foreign investors from abroad, though those based in Russia will be barred from the process.

Progress on selling the more than 3700 state-owned enterprises, most of which are loss making, has been slow since Ukraine overhauled its privatisation law nearly two years ago. The privatisation drive is backed by the International Monetary Fund which hopes it will curb corruption, bolster state coffers and bring in new foreign investors.

So far, Ukraine’s State Property Fund has received ownership of 20 large companies which it will ready for sale. Another 5-10 will be transferred in the next three months from the ministries currently in charge to prepare them for sale, Sennychenko said.

He added he expected privatisations would bring 12 billion hryvnias ($498 million) in 2020, with half of that generated by the sale of larger state firms.

$1 = 24.0800 hryvnias Reporting by Karin Strohecker; Editing by Christina Fincher

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