(Adds details, quotes, background)
By Katya Golubkova
MOSCOW, Sept 2 Russian President Vladimir Putin
said on Friday the government should not discriminate against
any market players willing to bid in the privatisation of oil
Answering a question about interest in Bashneft from oil
major Rosneft, Putin said it was not the best option
if one state-controlled company acquired another state company,
but the key was who gives the most money for the state budget.
"Rosneft, strictly speaking, is not a state company. Let us
not forget that a part of it is owned by BP, a British
company," Putin said in an interview with Bloomberg, according
to a transcript published on the Kremlin's website.
The government decided last month to postpone the
privatisation of a 50.1 percent stake in Bashneft, a midsize oil
Sources close to the deal and the government said the delay
was intended to calm infighting between, on one hand, Rosneft
CEO Igor Sechin and his allies, and on the other side rival
Kremlin groups who want Bashneft to stay out of Rosneft's hands.
In the interview, Putin did not clearly indicate who he
thought should buy Bashneft.
"At the end of the day, for the budget it's important who
will give more money during the sale ... In this sense, we
cannot discriminate (against) market players, none of them,"
Revenue from the Bashneft privatisation is needed to fill
holes in the state budget, which is running a deficit of 3
percent of gross domestic product this year.
With that transaction postponed, the planned sale of a 19.5
percent stake in Rosneft will be next on the privatisation
Putin said the state was actively preparing for the Rosneft
privatisation and the sale was planned to happen this year. He
said, though, the state would not sell the asset "at any price".
He added that in his opinion, strategic investors should buy
Economy Minister Alexei Ulyukayev said his ministry had
received proposals on how to conduct the Rosneft privatisation
from Italian bank Intesa, which has been selected as an adviser
on the deal.
(Reporting by Katya Golubkova and Christian Lowe; Writing by
Maria Kiselyova; Editing by Lidia Kelly and Dale Hudson)