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Slovak State to Retain Majorities in Transpetrol, SPP

The Slovak government intends to sell off state-owned stakes in some utilities and other companies, but will retain its majorities in the country’s gas monopoly Slovensky plynarensky priemysel (SPP) and the oil pipeline operator Transpetrol.

Cabinet approved the privatization policy on Tuesday.

“Slovakia will remain a majority owner in the companies Transpetrol and SPP until the end of this term of office,” said Economy Minister Pavol Rusko, adding that the state expected “very good” dividends and sound economic development from the companies. SPP netted the state SKK 20.45 bn in dividends in 2003.

In 2002, the government sold 49 % of SPP to the consortium of Gaz de France and Ruhrgas for SKK 127 bn and a 49 % stake in Transpetrol to Russia’s Yukos.

The investors also acquired the right to manage the companies by means of a majority on the board of directors.

Cabinet earlier approved the sale of 39 % of the country’s largest power distributor, Zapadoslovenska energetika (ZSE) to Germany’s E.ON Energie, which already owns 49 %. The state will float another 10 % of ZSE on the stock market.

Cabinet plans to offer shares in other distribution companies to their minority owners, but will not sell the national power grid operator.

The government also intends to sell majority stakes in six heat producers, but ministers as yet have not decided whether to sell 51 % or up to 66 % to private investors. The remaining shares will go to municipalities in which the companies are based.

Slovakia will also sell shares in the rail freight transport business, international airports in Bratislava and Kosice and air carrier Slovenske aerolinie.

(Interfax 10.ix.04)

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