CORPORATE NEWS

FNM sells 10.23% stake in Slovnaft

The National Property Fund (FNM), a state privatization agency, sold a 10.23 percent stake in the country's sole oil refiner, Slovnaft, on February 25. The stake was sold for 620 million crowns to a little-known company, Colorin a.s., based in Žilina-Bánová. Dealers said the sum represented a share price of 385 crowns, a fraction of the stock's February 24 closing price of 879 crowns on the Bratislava Stock Exchange (BSE). Slovnaft is by far the most heavily capitalized share on the BSE's official SAX index, accounting for 31 percent of its capitalization. In the course of the last month, the FNM was buying all shares of stock it could lay its hands on, spurring belief among market analysts that it was on the way to becoming the prime minority shareholder. But the FNM surprised everyone once again, by getting rid of its entire stock. The Fund has one last chance to shock the market with Slovnaft shares, but it first has to repurchase them from the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, which has said it wants to get rid of its 10-percent stake due to the FNM's murky dealings with Slovnaft shares.

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