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Russian govt. delays auction to sell stake in S7 air company

MOSCOW, February 8 (RIA Novosti) - Russia's Federal Property Fund said Thursday it has delayed until March 14 an auction to sell a 25.5% government stake in S7 Airlines, formerly Sibir, a leading Russian air carrier.

The auction to sell 26,126 ordinary non-documentary shares representing 25.5% of the charter capital of S7, Russia's second largest air carrier after Aeroflot, was earlier scheduled for February 14, the fund said.

According to the Federal Property Fund, bids for the auction will be accepted until March 6. The auction will be public both in terms of its participants and the form of submitting bids.

The initial auction price will be unchanged at 2,885,500,000 rubles (about $108.9 million). Each bidder will have to deposit 450 million rubles (about $16.9 million) at the auction, the fund said.

The government stake in S7 was included in privatization plans in 2006.

S7, based in Novosibirsk, changed its name from Sibir in March 2006.

The airline encountered a series of difficulties last year, the most severe being a tragedy in Siberia's city of Irkutsk July 9 when its Airbus 310 crashed on landing at the airport, killing at least 124 and injuring 70 out of 203 people on board.

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