Government to halt privatization sales

THE NEW government of Robert Fico is to halt the sales of state shares in energy and railway companies that the outgoing government of Mikuláš Dzurinda did not manage to complete.

In addition to the railway cargo transport firm ZSSK Cargo Slovakia, the Dzurinda government also launched the privatization of Slovakia's six largest heating companies, and prepared the ground for the sale of the remaining stakes in three energy distribution firms.

The sale of these firms was expected to bring around Sk45 billion to the state budget. If the Fico government halts these sales, it will have to find a way to make up for the budget shortfall.

Analysts noted, however, that in addition to the state budget, Slovakia's image would also suffer because of the halted privatizations.

According to ING Bank's Ján Tóth, room for foreign investment in Slovakia will also be narrowed, the Pravda daily wrote.

Compiled by Martina Jurinová from press reports

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