Gašparovič wants airport privatization decision put back

THE PRIVATIZATION of Bratislava and Košice airports should not take place before the end of the current electoral term (due in September 2006), President Ivan Gašparovič told journalists on January 8, the TASR news agency wrote.

The official privatization committee decided in December 2005 that the best bidder for 66-percent stakes in both Bratislava and Košice airports was the TwoOne consortium, consisting of Vienna airport, Raiffeisen Zentralbank and Slovak financial group Penta. The final decision as to who will become the majority owner of the two airports is due to be made by the government this month.

After consulting experts, the president believes that Bratislava airport should not be merged with Vienna airport. "On the contrary, it should be Vienna airport's competitor. Its privatization, in the way promoted by the Slovak government, will not be to Slovakia's advantage," he said.

Gašparovič thinks that the complete cancellation of the current tenders is not out of the question. However, the justification for this would have to be either an agreement that puts Slovakia at a disadvantage, or an infringement of the privatization rules.

Compiled by Marta Ďurianová from press reports
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