Six companies have filed bids in a tender for a majority stake in Freight One, a rail cargo subsidiary of state monopoly Russian Railways, the Anti-Monopoly Service said late on Monday.
The bidders include NefteTransServis rail cargo transportation company, two subsidiaries of Globaltrans, Russia's largest freight rail transportation group, Transoil owned by billionaire Gennady Timchenko and Independent Transport Company, part of tycoon Vladimir Lisin's Novolipetsk Steel.
“Under the Russian government’s resolution, bids for the auction may be filed by corporate entities registered in Russia, which are not state corporations and have a stable financial position and the experience of operating the rail rolling stock,” Russian Railways said in a statement.
The Russian government agreed late in July the terms of a public auction to sell 75 percent minus two shares in Freight One as part of the state's 2011-2013 privatization plan.
Russian Railways' President Vladimir Yakunin has said that the rail monopoly needed to get the terms of the auction approved by the government by the end of July to finance its investment program.
An independent valuator has set the minimum price for 75 percent minus two shares in Freight One at 115.5 billion rubles ($4.10 billion).
“The sale of a controlling stake in Freight One will be a key element of the reform of the Russian railway freight sector. As a result, the largest private player will appear in the Russian rail cargo sector while Russian Railways will get considerable funds to finance its investment program,” Yakunin was quoted as saying in the statement.
Russian Railways intends to sell the Freight One stake by the end of 2011. Bidders must have a fleet of at least 10,000-15,000 rail cars to participate in the auction.