NCHZ: No golden egg for potential foreign buyers

Bratislava based Fingroup holding has emerged as the most likely winner of the Slovak national privatisation agency's (FNM) May 30 tender for the privatisation of its minority 40.97% stake in the chemical company Novácke chemické závody (NCHZ).
Both FNM officials and analysts said after the announcement of the tender they were expecting few foreign offers for the stake, admitting that Fingroup would likely end up building on its existing 59% stake in the company.
"We certainly aren't selling a golden egg here, and price will be the dominant criterion bearing in mind it's a minority stake we are offering. We also believe that were foreign investors interested we would have heard from them by now," said Vladimír Dvořák, head of the strategy section at the FNM.

Bratislava based Fingroup holding has emerged as the most likely winner of the Slovak national privatisation agency's (FNM) May 30 tender for the privatisation of its minority 40.97% stake in the chemical company Novácke chemické závody (NCHZ).

Both FNM officials and analysts said after the announcement of the tender they were expecting few foreign offers for the stake, admitting that Fingroup would likely end up building on its existing 59% stake in the company.

"We certainly aren't selling a golden egg here, and price will be the dominant criterion bearing in mind it's a minority stake we are offering. We also believe that were foreign investors interested we would have heard from them by now," said Vladimír Dvořák, head of the strategy section at the FNM.

The FNM, as minority shareholder in the chemicals firm, was hoping to get the highest possible price for the stake and immediately add to its tightened budget and use the proceeds to repay state bonds due to be redeemed in 2001.

Despite what analysts claim is its relative unattractiveness for foreign buyers, the company has recovered from a period of economic stagnation in the second half of the 1990s, and last year reported post tax profits of 67 million crowns.

So far this year it has recorded profits of 125 million crowns, according to the firm's bosses. The figure is already 15 million crowns higher than planned for the whole year.

According to NCHZ general director Alexander Pálfy, the company now needs to make investments into modern technologies essential for its future functioning and growth. But the company cannot do it alone. "We can only manage this with a decent financial backer," he said.

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