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Thursday, December 13, 2018

Belarus mulls first international IPO

The government of Belarus is getting ready to give the green light to its first international IPO, selling shares in state-owned banking giant Belarusbank.

The former Soviet Republic, the only one not to have yet had an international IPO, may also decide to sell shares in Belagroprombank and BELAZ, the state-owned producer of mining dump trucks, BusinessNewEurope reports.

The Belarusian government has talked about listing the Belarusbank for years, but the momentum for actually organizing the IPO for the cash-strapped republic seems to be gathering steam.

The impetus for the IPO is reportedly being driven by necessity. The government's budget situation is now far less comfortable than it was after it took the fifth tranche of a $3 billion loan facility from the Russian-backed Eurasian Economic Community Anti-crisis Fund in April, and the country's current account turned sharply negative this year, according to BusinessNewEurope.

The government is running out of money again as EurAsEC considers whether to pay out the final tranche of that loan by the end of the year, and it faces the prospect of yet another sharp devaluation of the Belarusian ruble in 2014.

The IPO plans are part of a new push by the government to tap the value of the few successful and attractive assets and sectors it still controls.