Russia Approves Plan to Sell Stake in Alrosa

Moscow: Russian President Vladimir Putin has endorsed a potential plan to sell a part of the state’s shares in the country’s miner Alrosa, the world’s No.1 diamond producer by output in carats.

According to Russian news agency Tass, the plan approved by the Kremlin also includes the potential sale of the nation’s second-largest lender, VTB Bank.

The report says the government stake in Alrosa may be reduced to 33% from the current 44% and its holding of VTB to 50% plus one ordinary share. This means the Kremlin could offload up to 11% in both, which is in line with previous plans.

The two companies, along with fellow Russian firms Rosneft and Bashneft are among the most likely candidates for privatization this year, Economic Development Minister Alexei Ulyukayev said earlier this year.

Alrosa, which together with Anglo American’s De Beers controls almost two-thirds of the diamond market, reported Thursday an increase of 11% of its reserves between July 2013 and Jan. 2015.