Low bids for Cargo Slovakia

THE BIDS received for the 100 percent stake on offer in railway company Cargo Slovakia did not meet expectations, the daily Hospodárske noviny wrote. Uncertainty about fees that the firm may have to pay in future for using railway routes was one of the reasons for the low offers.

Transport Minister Pavol Prokopovič originally estimated that the state could get Sk15 billion to Sk20 billion (€390 million to €530 million) for its Cargo Slovakia stake. However, the highest bid submitted was that of Rail Cargo Austria along with J&T, who offered Sk13.1 billion (€340 million). The consortium of Rail World, MID Europa Partners and Penta offered Sk12.4 billion (€330 million), while the consortium of MÁV and Slavia Capital offered Sk7.6 billion (€200 million).

The sums were published in the online version of the Trend business magazine.

A second round could be held in the privatization tender for the cargo transporter, as in the case of the recent privatization of Bratislava and Košice airports. "This is one of the possibilities, but we don't want to comment because we don't have a statement from the privatisation committee," said Transport Ministry spokesman Tomáš Šarluška for Hospodárske noviny.

The investors would apparently have been willing to pay the sum expected by the Transport Ministry if the state had lowered the fees for use of the railway routes. The fees charged in Slovakia are the highest in the European Union.

"We agreed that the price will not change this year and that the privatisation advisor will work out a formula for calculating the prices for 2007," Šarluška said.

Compiled by Marta Ďurianová from press reports
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