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FNM to smooth SAD privatisation wrinkles

SLOVAKIA'S FNM privatisation agency will continue selling minority stakes in the country's SAD bus companies as well as addressing investor issues related to the privatisation, said FNM executive committee chairman Pavol Hulík.

Although the previous cabinet had approved buyers for 14 out of 17 regional bus operators, only three privatisation contracts have so far been signed, and some privatisers have complained that delays may prevent them from keeping privatisation contract conditions.

Head of Bystrická Dopravná Spoločnosť (BDS) Adrian Polony said that his firm's interest in SAD Zvolen in central Slovakia was at risk from delays. According to Polony, BDS is obliged to pay Sk72 million ($1.64 million) for a 49 per cent stake in SAD Zvolen by the end of 2002, as well as investing Sk46 million into the company.

French transporter Connex, which bought a 49 per cent stake in SAD Bratislava last spring, has pointed out that current privatisation documents do not show clearly when privatisers would be able to exercise options on further 17 per cent stakes in the SAD companies.

The FNM executive committee was scheduled to meet in early November to discuss these issues and finalise contract details for the remaining SAD stakes.

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