BELARUS: Government in talks with Baltika

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The Belarus president, Alexander Lukashenko, has said the government is determined to go ahead with the investment deal with Russian brewing group, Baltika, for the re-development of the Krynitsa brewery in Minsk. Lukashenko made the statement at a meeting with Baltika president, Taimuraz Bolloyev.

President Lukashenko said that Baltika had begun investing in Krynitsa before an official tender was carried out and that was the principal reason why it had delayed signing an investment deal with the company. However, this delay was the cause of considerable irritation at Baltika and a source of acrimony between the two parties. The deal was originally scheduled to be signed in December 2001.

"Belarus will not hamper Baltika's activities if the company fulfills all previous agreements," Lukashenko said, according to reports from the ITAR-TASS news agency. He added that the US$11m Baltika had already invested in Krynitsa would be taken into account when the unit is eventually privatised. "I think we will be able to come to terms with Baltika and sign such an investment deal that nobody will rebuke us that no tender was held," Lukashenko said.

The deal currently being discussed would see the government transferring its 50%-plus-one stake in Krynitsa over to Baltika in three stages subject to Baltika meeting a series of conditions.

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