Kyrgyzstan Readies Torpedo Plant For Sale To Russia
This fall Kyrgyzstan will put up for auction its only defense industry of note, the Dastan torpedo factory, and has signaled that it intends to favor Russian investors. The Russian newspaper Kommersant interviewed Kyrgyzstan's foreign minister, Erlan Abdyldaev, and asked about the plant.
Negotiations on the sale of the Dastan plant have been going on for a long time. A commission on the preparation of documents for an investment competition has already been formed. Dastan will be put up for auction in the fall. The Kyrgyz side is interested in selling this factory to Russia.
Russia has long been interested in the plant, but Kyrgyzstan's government had only had a 48 percent stake, whereas Russia wanted a controlling interest. But the Kyrgyzstan government was able to acquire shares previously owned by exiled first son Maxim Bakiyev, bumping its share of the plant to 98 percent, according to a Kommersant report this summer (via the Moscow Times).
The factory is reportedly valued at 30 million and the surrounding territory at $180 million, and apparently has no current business. There was an interesting possibility a couple of years ago of India doing business with Dastan, but that seems to have come to naught. Maybe with a new owner that possibility could arise again?
Anyway, it's telling that in this ostensibly open auction, Bishkek isn't even making any pretense of anyone other than Russia winning. So it sounds like Moscow will be in the driver's seat with respect to the price. They are, of course, giving over $1 billion in military aid to Bishkek, and no such thing as a free rocket launcher.
Joshua Kucera is the Turkey/Caucasus editor at Eurasianet, and author of The Bug Pit.
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