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CORPORATE BRIEFS

FinMin unhappy with offer for Slovak ČSOB stake

Slovakia is not satisfied with the offer by Belgium's KBC Bank, the owner of the recently privatised Czech ČSOB bank, for Slovakia's stake in ČSOB, Finance Minister Brigita Schmögnerová said on August 16.

KBC in June bought a 64% stake in ČSOB in a government tender for 40 billion Czech crowns ($1.17 billion). Slovakia has been in negotiations with KBC over its 24% stake in the bank, which it inherited from the break up of Czechoslovakia.

The Czech shareholders of ČSOB had blocked the sale of Slovakia's stake due to a dispute over some 17 billion Czech crowns of debt owed by Slovakia to ČSOB, currently being considered at a Washington-based investment court.

Slovak officials have repeatedly demanded that KBC buy its stake under exactly the same conditions as the Czech stake. Schmögnerová said the differences were not over price but over additional stipulations demanded by KBC which she said were "indirectly related" to Slovakia's debt to the ČSOB.

Schmögnerová said that the Slovak government insisted that the dispute was between the Slovak and Czech governments, and was separate from the issue of Slovakia's ČSOB stake.

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