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The number of Uzbek companies with state shares of over 25% will be cut down to 600 by the end of 2004, says Azat Irmanov, the head of the department on coordination activity of state attorneys and trustees under the State Property Committee of Uzbekistan. State assets in about 1,400 companies planned to be turned into private property and while over 1,000 state-owned companies will be privatised. Among them, there are State Stock Company TAPOiCH, Almalik Metallurgy Enterprise and other chemical ventures. The state will maintain its assets in strategically important companies that deal with cotton manufacture and other basic branches of country’s economy.