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IN SHORT BUSINESS

FNM sells stake in steam-gas firm

SLOVAKIA'S state-run privatisation agency, the FNM, has sold its 90 percent stake in Bratislava's Steam-Gas Cycle (PPC) energy and heat producer to the PPC Holding company for Sk2.01 billion (€49.35 million), the news wire TASR wrote.

Economy Minister Pavol Rusko has accused the FNM of not respecting political will and a coalition council agreement because it did not wait for the decision of PPC's 10 percent owner, the Slovenské elektrárne (SE) power utility, before making the sale.

"I'm very surprised with the FNM's standpoint. They are taking a big risk: If SE decides not to sell its stake, the new owner won't even be able to install a new doorkeeper," Rusko said.

Under PPC's current rules, SE has the right to block all decisions made at a general meeting of the company's shareholders.

The agreement between the FNM and PPC Holding, backed by the local investment group Penta, was signed at the end of last week. FNM spokeswoman Tatjana Lesajová also confirmed that the entire purchase price had already been transferred to FNM's account.

"Negotiations with SE on purchasing its 10 percent stake in PPC have not yet started," she said.

According to Lesajová, the FNM expects SE to sell its 10 percent stake, as PPC Holding is offering a favourable price for it.

PPC Holding is a subsidiary of the VSŽ Košice company (in which Penta controls 89.08 percent). Its strategic partner is the Swiss company Aare Tessin AG für Elektrizität.

PPC, established in 1996, has equity of Sk600 million (€14.73 million) divided into 6,000 shares.

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