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Cabinet freezes privatization as of February 22

THE SLOVAK cabinet said it would take no privatization decisions after February 22, more than a month sooner than the Dzurinda administration had originally suggested.

Stakes in 11 bus lines, 6 heating companies and energy distributor Západnaslovenská energetika will thus remain in state hands for the time being.

The Economy Ministry halted the sale of additional shares in energy distributors Stredoslovenská energetika and Východoslovenská energetika several weeks ago, the SME daily wrote.

The privatization freeze will also affect the sale of a 100 percent stake in the country's freight transporter, Cargo Slovakia. Transport Minister Pavol Prokopovič said the decision will cost Cargo hundreds of millions of Slovak crowns in losses.

Economy Minister Jirko Malchárek said it was difficult to calculate the losses that would result from halting the other privatization sales because putting the companies in private hands would have increased their profitability.

Compiled by Beata Balogová from press reports
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