YEREVAN — Ending months of speculation, Russia’s state-controlled energy conglomerate Inter RAO announced on Wednesday the widely anticipated sale of Armenia’s debt-ridden power distribution network to Russia based Tashir group of companies owned by Armenian-born billionaire Samvel Karapetian.

In a joint statement, Inter RAO and Tashir Group said they have signed a corresponding deal that was approved by the Armenian authorities.

“The deal has already been approved by the Armenian government and will be completed after a decision by [Armenia’s] Public Services Regulatory Commission (PSRC),” read the statement. It did not reveal how much Tashir will pay for the Electric Networks of Armenia (ENA) utility.

Tashir said future plans include implementation of an anti-crisis program to optimize the financial performance of the company and raise control over its financial and economic activity, as well as a gradual modernization of the distribution networks.

Karapetian said also in order to support the population of Armenia, it was agreed that Tashir and the government of Armenia will be paying in equal parts for one year the difference between the electricity rate that was effective until August 1, 2015 and the increased rate for households and small businesses.

Russian and Armenian newspapers repeatedly reported earlier this year that Tashir is close to buying the Armenian power grids from the Russian energy giant. The deal appears to have been delayed by this summer’s two-week street protests in Yerevan that were sparked by a further rise in electricity prices in Armenia announced by the PSRC.

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