Slovakia to cut limit on privatisation projects

Slovak Prime Minister Mikuláš Dzurinda said on April 29 that he expected that only six or seven enterprises would remain barred from privatisation under a new law due to be discussed in the first week of May.

"I expect that the law will have a list of six or seven enterprises, including railway, postal service, energy and gas transit," Dzurinda said, speaking at a foreign investment conference in Bratislava.

"In the energy sector we do not want to privatise transit and transmission lines, but in the later stages we would like to privatise those who pump energy into this network," Dzurinda added.

The government has said it would discuss a proposal next week which would increase the number of companies up for privatisation by reducing the number of companies designated as "strategic."

"The Slovak government has no specific target group for foreign investment... but my preference is mechanical engineering and electrotechnicals," Dzurinda said. He added that this was because of a tradition of this kind of business in Slovakia, particularly associated with the defence industry in the centre of the country.

The new law proposal comes on the heals of an IMF mission to Slovakia which suggested the privatisation of some companies which had previously not been considered appropriate for sale. Sources close to the government say that the country's largest bank, Slovenská Sporiteľňa, and the largest insurer, Slovenská Poisťovňa, will be among the companies up for privatisation under the terms of the new law.

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