The Armenian government announced on Wednesday plans to privatize the country’s state-owned national postal service employing thousands of people.
Prime Minister Hovik Abrahamian’s cabinet approved the planned sell-off during its weekly session in Yerevan. The decision took the form of draft amendments to an Armenian law that lists state companies subject to privatization. It therefore also requires the parliament’s approval.
Speaking at the cabinet meeting, the head of the government’s privatization agency, Arman Sahakian, said the Haypost operator should be privatized because it needs substantial capital investments.
“The company’s privatization will foster the development of postal communication in Armenia through new investments, installation of new equipment, and rehabilitation and modernization of its physical infrastructure,” Sahakian said.
The official added that the sell-off is also supported by a private firm that runs Haypost in accordance with a 10-year management contract which it signed with the government in 2006. That company is controlled by Eduardo Eurnekian, an Argentinian billionaire of Armenian descent who has extensive business interests in Armenia.
It was not clear whether this means Eurnekian would like to buy Haypost. Nor did the government explain just how it will seek to privatize the company and its asking price will be.
Haypost has an authorized capital of only 512 million drams ($1.1 million) despite employing around 3,000 people at its Yerevan headquarters and some 900 postal offices across Armenia. Many of those offices have been refurbished since 2007.
The company not only provides traditional postal services but also collects utility payments and some taxes and duties, handles wire transfers of cash and even distributes travel insurance.