The economic weekly Trend reported in its latest issue that the FNM state privatisation agency had started proceedings to press its claims against the limited company Manager, s.r.o. Košice, which bought a 9.53% stake in Slovakia's largest industrial company, steel maker VSŽ Košice, from the FNM five years ago.
Manager still owes the FNM an installment of 54 million Slovak crowns on the original purchase price. The FNM now wants to regain control of the VSŽ shares that were used as collateral for the Manager debt, but has yet to decide how it would handle the stake if it were to successfully acquire it.
Manager was founded by former chief executives of VSŽ. The government of Prime Minister Vladimír Mečiar decided to sell the VSŽ stake to the company shortly after a parliamentary non-confidence vote in March 1994 that ousted the Mečiar government. The price was set at 200 crowns per share, despite the fact that the shares were trading on the stock market for about 500 crowns at the time.
Manager is now controlled by a group formed around former VSŽ executive and Mečiar-era Transport Minister Alexander Rezeš. It has mere 3.8% of VSŽ shares on its account.