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High interest in Alrosa privatization, bids below 65 rubles not to receive allocations

Bankersmanaging the sale of the Russian government's in diamond miner have told investorsthat bids of 65 rubles per share and below will likely not gain allotments inthe special offering due to "very high interest."

Asource close to the deal told S&P Global Market Intelligence on July 8 thatbidding so far was strong, with high levels of interest from both foreign anddomestic "high quality" investors.

Earlierin the day, Russian newswire Interfax reported deal managers Sberbank CIB andVTB Capital had received bids ranging from 65 rubles to 66 rubles per share.

Thesource also said rumors that the government was targeting an average sale priceof 71 rubles apiece were untrue.

Bookbuilding for the deal was scheduled to close at 4:30 p.m. Moscow time, andKremlin officials will announce results and their decision on whether to placethe deal next week.

Ifthe fully 10.9% stock package is placed, Alrosa's free float should increase toabout 34%, and the stock's weightin the benchmark MSCI Index should increase to about 2%, accordingto BCS Global Markets.

RussianPresident Vladimir Putin re-ignited Russia's privatization program , in anapparent bid to plug state finances sapped by recession and low crude oilprices.

As of July 7, US$1 wasequivalent to 63.94 Russian rubles.