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Ministry has not yet transferred ST shares

THE MINISTRY of Transport, Post and Telecommunications still controls a 34-percent stake in Slovakia's dominant fixed-line operator, Slovak Telekom, in spite of a government order from June ordering it to transfer the shares.

The ministry was ordered to transfer its stake free-of-charge to the National Property Fund (FNM) government privatisation agency, the SITA newswire wrote on October 9.

Transport Minister Ľudovíť Vážny promised to do this by the end of June, but the situation remains unchanged after more than three months.

Ministry spokesman Marián Jánošík told SITA that the ministry already delivered the written documentation needed for the share transfer to the FNM in late September.

"The shares have not yet been transferred due to ongoing negotiations between the Transport Ministry, the FNM and Deutsche Telekom (which holds 51 percent of Slovak Telekom), according to the shareholder contract," FNM spokesperson Tatjana Lesajová told SITA.

The ministry decided to transfer the shares following long-term criticism from the European Commission, which objected to the ministry being a shareholder in the telecommunications company and holding responsibility for drafting legislation in that sector.

Moreover, the telecommunications regulatory authority, the Telecommunications Office, is financed from the Transport Ministry's budget.

The ministry originally executed shareholder rights related to a 15-percent stake in Slovak Telekom that is held by the FNM. Following the share transfer, the FNM will execute shareholder rights for the entire 49-percent stake.

Thanks to a generous dividend policy, Slovak Telekom shares are a lucrative asset for the state, the Hospodárske Noviny wrote. The company is thriving, with its consolidated net profit up 41.9 percent year-on-year to Sk2.55 billion (€76.1 million) during the first quarter of 2007.

Slovak Telekom, which also owns mobile operator T-Mobile, ascribes its sound results to the mobile sector.

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