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Minister Touts Russian Post Privatization

State-owned Russian Post may be privatized within 3 to 5 years, Communications and Press Minister Nikolai Nikiforov wrote on his Twitter account.

The minister made the comment Sunday, having been impressed by the results of the British Royal Mail IPO on Friday — when shares rocketed almost 40 percent above their issue price — and said that parts of Russian Post could also be offered to the public in several years' time.

But experts were skeptical about Royal Mail shares, saying that the initial offering was undervalued to ensure successful privatization.

The stock hit an early high of 456 pence ($7.29), on the hugely oversubscribed sale of a majority stake, priced at 330 pence, Reuters reported.

Plans to privatize Russian Post were voiced several times by the state agency's management, which has changed over the last few years, as well as by top government officials.

In 2006 then-Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin offered to take Russian Post public and in 2010 then- Prime Minister Vladimir Putin presented a privatization plan for the state agency.

Experts at the time said that the process could take two years to complete.

The Communications Ministry plans that a law permitting privatization of the mail company will be adopted in 2014. Also next year the ministry intends to present a development for Russian Post until 2018.

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