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Russia set to privatize natural monopolies' auxiliary firms-1

(Recasts, adds details in paras 4-8)

SOCHI, September 21 (RIA Novosti) - Russia's government is planning to privatize the largest possible amount of companies supplying services to natural monopolies, an acting first deputy prime minister said Friday.

Addressing an international investment forum in the Russian Black Sea resort of Sochi, Sergei Ivanov said that Russia would privatize in cases where it was "economically justified to maintain monopolies."

He said such measures were already being carried out as part of reforms in the electric power industry.

The official added that state investment in the economy could account for 4.5% of the country's GDP in the next eight years.

The acting first deputy prime minister also said Russia was ready to offer investors additional guarantees for the return of their investments in infrastructure.

"From the point of view of infrastructure, Russia is one of the world's largest and most promising markets," Sergei Ivanov went on. "According to our calculations, the volume [of the infrastructure market] is estimated at some $1 trillion for the next decade."

He also pledged that Russia would enhance the global competitiveness of national infrastructure companies.

In addition, he said that Russia would increase its international trade in electricity, provide communications services and build more power and transport facilities.

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