Lenfilm privatization looms


MOSCOW -- The long-awaited privatization of St. Petersburg-based studio facility Lenfilm Studio will finally be completed this year, spokesman Alexander Pozdnyakov said Wednesday.

The new owners of the studio will be revealed in mid-2008 after the government's controlling stake in the studio is auctioned.

The participants in the tender for valuation of Lenfilm's assets will be announced before Jan. 18. These assets include the main Lenfilm Studio facility on the Petrograd Side in St. Petersburg and two documentary production facilities elsewhere in the city.

The winner of the valuation tender will be announced Feb. 15. Ten business days later, the Russian government will sign the contract with the winning appraiser.

"After the sale, the studio will be controlled by a board of directors which will decide whether to continue production (at the studios' production base in central St. Petersburg) or to sell off the facilities and merely retain the Lenfilm brand," Pozdnyakov said.

In 2000, Russian President Vladimir Putin issued a directive for all government-owned film studios to be privatized. In March 2004, Lenfilm Studio became a public joint stock company with its stakes shared between the government and several private film studios operating on the premises. In April 2007, the government put Lenfilm on its privatization list for 2008.