TwoOne: Government's standpoint on Bratislava airport legally unsustainable

THE TWOONE consortium, consisting of Vienna Airport, Raiffeisen Zentral Bank (Austria) and the Slovak financial group Penta, said it was surprised that the Slovak government did not stick to its promise not to decide on the sale of a 66-percent stake in Bratislava's M. R. Štefánik Airport to the consortium before the Slovak Anti-monopoly Bureau (PMÚ) reached a final decision on the deal.

"In our opinion, in legal terms the decision of the government is not sustainable," reads a TwoOne statement released on August 17. The consortium, which won the airport stake in a privatization tender concluded in April, is considering taking the government to the International Court of Arbitration in Paris.

Penta Group spokesman Martin Danko told the TASR news wire that the consortium was referring to a promise made by Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico during his visit to the Czech Republic in July.

"If it [PMÚ] confirms that the privatisation was carried out correctly, that there is no power concentration, and that all conditions were fulfilled, then we'll have to respect this decision. But if the bureau, as an independent institution, decides differently, all interested parties will have an opportunity to take measures to rectify the situation," Fico said during the visit.

On August 14 the PMÚ announced that it would not be able to issue a decision on the sale by the August 15 deadline because it needed a further 45 days to review it. Accordingly, it extended the deadline to October 19.

Because TwoOne didn't get the green light from the PMÚ by August 15 - a condition of the contract between the Transport Ministry and TwoOne - the government at its August 16 session decided to cancel the privatisation.

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