Slovak state telecom tender should start in June

Slovak Deputy Telecommunications Minister František Kurej said on March 18 the tender for a strategic investor for the state telecommunications company, Slovenské Telekomunikácie (ST), should be called in June.

Speaking at a conference in Prague, Kurej said the Slovak government was planning to choose the strategic investor by the end of November so that it could actually come into the company in January, 2000. "This is a preliminary idea...which has the real support of the government," Kurej said. "The foreign partner will enter [ST] through a basic capital increase...The strategic partner would get 34% at the minimum, while the state's share would be maintained at at least 51%," he added.

The Telecommunications Ministry said in January that the government was considering retaining a 34% stake in the state telecom company with the remainder up for negotiation and possible sale.

The ministry will choose a foreign consultant to help organise the sell-off by the end of March.

Earlier on March 18, ST's director of strategic planning, Ivan Marták, told the same conference he expected to see operating revenues rise to 18.029 billion crowns in 1998 from 15.241 in 1997. Marták also said he estimated net profits to fall to 700 million crowns from 2.225 billion and gross profits to fall to 2.611 billion crowns from 4.092 billion. He gave no explanation for the downturn in profits.

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