Ukraine’s government has pushed back the sale of a 37.86% stake in the country’s former monopoly fixed line operator Ukrtelecom to next year, according to Finance Minister Mykola Azarov. The State Property Fund (SPF) failed in a plan to sell a 5% stake in the incumbent between 28 March and 23 June 2007, and the further planned sale of a larger stake by end-2007 has now been postponed, with early parliamentary elections looming at the end of September. Azarov told local press that the government remained confident that the partial privatisation of Ukrtelecom would raise up to UAH7 billion (USD1.43 billion). Currently Ukrtelecom is 92.78% state-owned. A 7.14% stake was privatised on privileged terms to employees (2.14%) and top management (5%) in 2002. According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms database, Russian telco Comstar UTS, part of the Sistema Group, has declared its interest in acquiring a stake in Ukrtelecom, whilst the only domestic bid is likely to come from System Capital Management (SCM) Group, parent of alternative fixed line operator Optima/Farlep and co-owner of cellco Astelit. Other than these two, there has been no confirmed interest shown by major telcos in Ukrtelecom.