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EBRD withdraws from Armenian energy privatization

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) announced on 3 October that it will not purchase a 19.9 percent stake in the Armenian energy-distribution network that is being privatized, according to RFE/RL's Yerevan bureau.

The EBRD decision is the latest blow to the $37 million sale and overturns an earlier understanding between the EBRD and the Armenian government under which the EBRD would have assumed a 20 percent share in the privatization deal once a foreign investor was found to buy the energy network in an open and competitive tender.

The privatization has already been questioned by some observers, including the World Bank, after the Armenian government awarded the 80.1 percent share to a little-known offshore group with no experience in the energy sector.

(RFE/RL 04.x.02)

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