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More SPP follies

President Rudolf Schuster has appealed to parliament to form a commission to set a minimum acceptable price for the sale of a 49 per cent state stake in gas utility SPP. Schuster said he thought Sk150 or Sk200 billion "are both good prices".

A tender for SPP, the most lucrative privatisation property in Slovakia's history, is nearing an end; political battles have recently erupted over the sale.

Pavol Koncoš, head of the ruling coalition Democratic Left Party (SDĽ), said the party would do "everything in its power" to change the conditions for the sale of SPP, but said only the party leadership could rule on the SDĽ's possible departure from cabinet if its demands were not met.

The SDĽ wants the cabinet-approved decision to sell 49 per cent in SPP changed to 24 per cent. Experts warn changing tender conditions for SPP could destroy Slovakia's investment reputation.

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