Russia's Gazprom to buy the whole of Kyrgyzstan's state gas company

Kyrgyzstan's state-owned natural gas company says it is to be sold in its entirety to Russian energy giant Gazprom.

Kyrgyzgaz general director Turgunbek Kulmurzayev said Friday that the sale of the company would be completed by April 1.

The takeover will raise hopes that the Central Asian nation may not continue to experience debilitating energy shortages like those it has endured over the past week, when gas and electricity supplies to thousands of households were suspended.

Some critics are likely to object, however, to a sale of a major national asset to a company owned by a foreign government.

Kulmurzayev cited Gazprom officials as saying they planned to invest $650 million over five years on modernizing Kyrgyzstan's gas pipeline network.

He gave no figure for the sale.