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Threat of Postponed Examination of Power Reform Package in Russian Duma Reported


CEP20021218000105 Moscow Kommersant in Russian 12/17/2002 P 15

[Report by Irina Granik: "Energy Reform Under a Short-Circuit Threat" -- taken from HTML version of source provided by ISP]

[FBIS Translated Text]
The Duma may examine in the second reading a package of laws on reform of the electricity sector tomorrow [18 December].   Or, it may not.   Yesterday [16 December], a coordinating council of four Duma centrist associations declared that the examination might be postponed.   Yesterday, the deputies were pretty vague about reasons that made the Duma centrists violate yet another time all the accords reached with the government to adopt the "electricity" package in this year to speed up reforms.   The centrists from Unity and OVR [Fatherland-All Russia] refused to make any comments altogether, while Oleg Morozov, the leader of the Russian Regions group, declared that the deputies still have "many questions about the package."

Yesterday, the news about a threat that the adoption of the package of laws may be postponed caused a tumult on the stock market.   The RTS [Russian Trading System ] trading closed with a 3.75-percent drop in RAO YeES [Unified Energy System of Russia Russian Joint-Stock Company] stocks.   Traders believe that this happened specifically because of the report on [possible] postponed examination of the draft laws.

Notably, yesterday's declaration by the deputies about possible postponement of the draft laws came right when Anatoliy Chubays, at the Federation Council's "round table" discussion on restructuring of the Russian electricity sector, expressed his satisfaction with the plans obtained as a result of finalization work in the Duma.   "We do have objections, of course, but the laws did not lose anything on their way from the first to the second reading.   The concept's consistency is harmed but the amount of common sense has not been reduced," he declared.   As is known, the objections of Anatoliy Chubays are about the strengthened state regulation in the reformed industry.   Yesterday, however, he declared that it remained "within sound limits" as a whole, and even pointed to some useful corrections made by the Duma.

Specifically, the deputies increased a role of the state in the Trading System Administrator (ATS) -- at the stock trading market, where market prices of electricity will be set.   They agreed to reduce from 75 to 50 percent the number of votes required by the YeES Board of Directors to make any decision on the company's reorganization (this will not allow reforms to be suspended half-way to suit interests of minority shareholders).   The YeES head described as another sound decision the fact that although the deputies indicated in the draft law "On Electric Power Engineering" a need to increase the state share in the system operator and the Federal Network Company from the present 52 to 75 percent, they refrained from setting any dates.   After all, this could create a situation in which the state would have to buy shares at higher prices.   Finally, Anatoliy Chubays was pleased by a ban on phased [veyernyye] electricity disconnections, in which conscientious payers are hurt because of debtors.   "We in RAO YeES have banned phased disconnections already two years ago," he declared triumphantly.   The YeES head could not resist saying that "the process of reforming the sector is already in full swing."   His words were confirmed by Vyacheslav Kravchenko, executive secretary of the government commission in charge of preparing the package, ATS Head Dmitriy Ponomarev, and OAO [open joint-stock company] Kalugaenergo Head Irina Yashanina.   "There is only one problem left: The legislators should keep abreast with real life," Anatoliy Chubays summed up.   To all appearances, the legislators have decided in their own way.


[Description of Source: Moscow Kommersant in Russian -- Informative daily newspaper purchased by Boris Berezovskiy in 1999 and often reflecting his viewpoint.]



THIS REPORT MAY CONTAIN COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL. COPYING AND DISSEMINATION IS PROHIBITED WITHOUT PERMISSION OF THE COPYRIGHT OWNERS.


Unclassified

Russian power grid chief: Budget loses money over energy reform debate delay


CEP20021218000092 Moscow RenTV in Russian 1030 GMT 18 Dec 02

[FBIS Translated Text]


 Because the State Duma debate on the package of energy reform bills has been postponed, the state has lost 110m dollars over two days only, the head of the Unified Energy System of Russia, Anatoliy Chubays, said today [18 December].
  He added that a group of major Russian businessmen was intentionally trying to delay the adoption of the new laws in order to reduce the cost of the company's shares. In the meantime, they were buying up these shares at a low price, Chubays said.
 

THIS REPORT MAY CONTAIN COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL. COPYING AND DISSEMINATION IS PROHIBITED WITHOUT PERMISSION OF THE COPYRIGHT OWNERS.

Russian power grid shares collapse ahead of Duma electricity board debate


CEP20021217000370 Moscow NTV International in Russian 1900 GMT 17 Dec 02

[FBIS Translated Text]


  Financial experts have followed the market's reaction to the Duma decision to reform the energy sector. Figures are impressive. Here are a few assessments of the situation.
  [Aleksandr Korchagin, head of the analysis department of the Prospect investment company] For the investors, the situation around the Russian power grid has been scandalous throughout the entire period of reform, since [its head Anatoliy] Chubays announced it [reform] in March 2002. The figures speak for themselves: since March 2002, the company has lost about 39 per cent of its capitalization, that is, 3.5bn dollars. This year, the power grid has lost about 4bn dollars while the dynamics has changed only after Chubays's announcement about a change of a moratorium on the sale of the assets.
  [Sergey Komlev, head of the analysis department of the Eurofinance investment company]  When the report came through at about 1630 Moscow time [1330 gmt], saying that the discussion of the packet of documents on the reform of the power grid will take place on Wednesday on 18 December, the market collapsed, including today's fall, literally by about 6 per cent. If we re-calculate this fall from the point of view of the cost of the power grid block of shares, this will mean that it will lose about 300m dollars of its capitalization. That is the cost of the issue.
 

[Description of Source: Moscow NTV International in Russian -- broadcasts via satellite to the US, Israel, and other countries; features programs from Gazprom's NTV network and former NTV shows now being aired on Gusinskiy's TNT network and Berezovskiy's TV-6]



THIS REPORT MAY CONTAIN COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL. COPYING AND DISSEMINATION IS PROHIBITED WITHOUT PERMISSION OF THE COPYRIGHT OWNERS.


Unclassified

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