The privatization of Slovakia's largest insurance company, Slovenská Poisťovňa (SP), should proceed as soon as possible, the Slovak press agency TASR quoted SP President Edita Bukovská as saying on April 2. "The complete privatisation [of SP] should take place as soon as possible - within one and a half years, but urgently by the end of 1998," Bukovska said.
In early March, parliament approved a law cancelling the selloff of the state's stakes in Slovenská Sporiteľňa, the country's largest savings bank, and SP until December 31, 2003. Through the state privatisation agency the National Property Fund, the state controls 50.5 percent of SP.
But Bukovská said SP is already suffering from the lack of a "real owner" able to put funds into the firm over the next four or five years. "From a pragmatic point of view, domestic subjects, including perhaps two or three new shareholders, probably will be involved and preferred in [SP's] next privatization moves," Bukovská said. Foreign investors would be asked to participate in SP's privatization only if there was no interest on the part of domestic subjects, she added.
"They [foreign inestors] should take part mainly by increasing SP's basic capital to allow it to make profits from those funds," Bukovská said. She said funds from the sale of the state's stake would be used to restructure SP's loan portfolio, as it had provided "a considerable volume" of bad loans between 1992 and 1993. Last June, SP was the center of a crisis inside Slovakia's ruling coalition after a boardroom fight resulted in two separate managements, each evicting the other and occupying the company's headquarters.
10. Apr 1997 at 0:00 | Peter Javurek