The process of privatization of state-owned assets has been stepped up in Uzbekistan. 1.1 trillion soums, or US$ 105 million worth of state-owned assets were sold in H1 of 2021. While, the state made only US$ 150 million from privatization in the previous four years, said Akmalkhon Ortikov, director of the State-Owned Asset Management Agency (SAMA), in an interview to bne IntelliNews.
According to him, 10 large facilities accounted for most of the cash (US$ 80 million) received from the sale in the first six months, including the Ichan Kala hotel and the former administrative building of the State Security Service in the center of Tashkent.
More than 900 state-owned assets will be put up for sale this year.
“If we achieve our goals, this year we expect to receive up to US$ 600 million from the privatization,” added Akmalkhon Ortikov.
Among the assets put up for sale are 100% of the second largest oil refinery in Uzbekistan, the Fergana Refinery, a controlling stake (57.1%) in Coca-Cola Bottlers Uzbekistan, 48% of the Kafolat insurance company and nine wine and spirits producers. In the financial sector, SAMA received offers for two small banks - Poytaxt Bank and Uzagroexportbank.
He believes that one of the reasons for the success in the sale of state assets has to do with valuations. The publication, citing Akmalkhon Ortikov, notes that unrealistic estimates that do not meet market expectations were the main reason for the failed privatization in the past.
“At the moment, we are critically evaluating these new standards to understand why they are not working, even if they were developed with the support of international financial institutions. When our local valuers evaluate companies, the estimates do not match the market value of the companies. It is either too expensive or below the real value,” he concluded.