Cabinet decided yesterday to delay by at least two weeks a rise in regulated, subsidised consumer prices for natural gas; the rises are seen as essential in the run-up to the sale of a 49% share in gas utility SPP, but have been opposed by leftist parties. The Economy Ministry had previously proposed that prices go up by almost 20% on October 1, thus bringing the retail gas price up to 72% of the purchase price the utility pays its Russian supplier. SPP lost 17.2 billion crowns ($362 million) on domestic gas sales last year, and without the 20% rise expects to lose a further 20 billion this year. Estimates for how much the SPP stake might fetch range from 143 to 334 billion crowns, with analysts suggesting a significant consumer gas price rise could put the final SPP purchase price in the upper range of those estimates.
Compiled by Tom Nicholson from press reports.
The Slovak Spectator cannot vouch for the accuracy of the information presented in its Flash News postings.
20. Sep 2001 at 9:50