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Palacka selects group to pick ST partner

On May 21, Telecom Minister Gabriel Palacka appointed a commission for selection of a strategic partner for state telecom monolpoly Slovenské Telekomunikácie (ST). The commission is to be chaired by Palacka himself, while the vice-chairman will be Deputy Telecom Minister František Kurej
Other members of the commission include a secretary Stanislav Vanek, currently head of the Ministry's Postal and Telecommunications Section, head of the Slovak Cabinet Office Tibor Tóth, Deputy Finance Minister Viliam Vaškovič, Deputy Economy Minister Ján Sabol, Deputy Privatization Minister Vladimír Drozda, FNM (national privatization agency) president Ľudovít Kanik, vice-chair of the Antitrust Bureau Jaroslav Koštalik, head of the Telecommunications Office Ľudovít Hogh and head of the Telecom Ministry's Privatization Section, Helena Kavcová.


Deputy Telecom Minister František Kurej says investor will allow ST to focus on providing customer-friendly service.
photo: Courtesy Telecom Ministry

On May 21, Telecom Minister Gabriel Palacka appointed a commission for selection of a strategic partner for state telecom monolpoly Slovenské Telekomunikácie (ST). The commission is to be chaired by Palacka himself, while the vice-chairman will be Deputy Telecom Minister František Kurej

Other members of the commission include a secretary Stanislav Vanek, currently head of the Ministry's Postal and Telecommunications Section, head of the Slovak Cabinet Office Tibor Tóth, Deputy Finance Minister Viliam Vaškovič, Deputy Economy Minister Ján Sabol, Deputy Privatization Minister Vladimír Drozda, FNM (national privatization agency) president Ľudovít Kanik, vice-chair of the Antitrust Bureau Jaroslav Koštalik, head of the Telecommunications Office Ľudovít Hogh and head of the Telecom Ministry's Privatization Section, Helena Kavcová.

Commission vice-chair František Kurej responded to The Slovak Spectator's questions about the privatisation process on May 26.


The Slovak Spectator (TSS): How will the Ministry guarantee that the privatisation of ST will be fair and transparent?

František Kurej (FK): The privatisation process will be led by an inter-ministry commission. The Slovak government has named the Telecom Minister as the head of the commission, while other members include representatives from the Finance and Economy Ministries and from the central state administration, as well as experts from the field of telecommunications.

The Telecom Ministry has invited the independent group Transparency International Slovakia (TIS) to monitor the entire privatisation process. TIS will have access to all commission materials throughout the entire process. TIS also took part in the selection of an advisor [Deutsche Bank] for the ST privatisation.


TSS: Why was Bratislava brokerage house Slávia Capital, in co-operation with Deutsche Bank, chosen as the financial advisor on the ST sale? Who made the decision?

FK: The Deutsche Bank consortium, which includes both Slávia Capital and Wood & Company Group, won an international tender process. The choice was made by a tender commission selected by the Telecom Ministry. The verdict of the selection commission was taken in agreement with the tender conditions set by the government.


TSS: When will the ST sale begin?

FK: The ST privatisation will begin as soon as is possible in reality. The Telecom Ministry wants the process to happen in such a way that a decision on the entry of a foreign partner to ST is taken by the end of 1999.


TSS: In what areas must ST improve its services in readiness for the expiry of its monopoly in 2003?

FK: The privatisation of ST is a means of hastening the development of telecommunications in the Slovak Republic as well as of increasing the quality of the services ST provides. Privatisation will allow the use of the foreign partner's know-how to increase the effectiveness of ST's operations and to prepare for full liberalisation [of the Slovak telecom market] from January 1, 2003. This preparation includes offering a wider array of high-quality services. It also means a transition towards customer-oriented marketing activities.


TSS: Can we expect another GSM 1800 tender to be called?

FK: The Telecom Ministry is negotiating with interested parties on the possibility of modifying the [GSM 1800 tender] conditions in a new tender process. If the results of talks are good, the ministry will call a new GSM 1800 tender.

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