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KIA and PSA contracts break ice for more privatisation pacts

NOW THAT the government has approved the publication of the state’s investment contracts with carmakers PSA Peugeot Citroen and Hyundai/Kia, individual Slovak ministries are preparing to publish the contracts of other big privatisation sales, such as those of banks and energy companies, the news wire TASR wrote.

The first task is to consult the powerful foreign companies that won the privatisation competitions, and to enlist the ministries of the economy, finance, and transportation.

"Investors who obtained former Slovakian banks have been asked what is and what is not a business secret for them. The Finance Ministry has no problem publishing the contracts, if there is such a request. We must stick to the rules," Finance Ministry Spokesman Peter Papanek said.

SLSP, the biggest Slovak bank, was obtained by Erste Bank (Austria) three years ago after it was cleared of bad debt. VÚB went to Banca Intesa Group (Italy), IRB to OTP bank (Hungary), and the government sold the Slovenska Poisťovňa insurance monopoly to Allianz (Germany).

The Ministry of Transportation, Post, and Telecommunication (MDPT) is working on publishing the contract with Deutsche Telecom for its purchase of 51 percent of the fixed-line operator Slovak Telecom.

Tatiana Kelcova, the ministry’s spokeswoman, said they were responding to a parliamentary request for the declassification of all privatisation contracts.

"Our minister made this request by letter to the boards of directors of Slovak Telecom. We haven't received a response," said Kelcova. She added that the MDPT expects to publish everything and officials foresee no threat of sanctions from the investor.

Economy Minister Pavol Rusko wants to publish as much and as many of these contracts as possible.

In the case of three energy distributors he wants to proceed in the same manner as with the contracts with the carmakers, in which everything except the parts protected by business secrecy provisions were released, the news wire TASR wrote. In deciding on the scope of the documents to be released, Rusko is seeking cooperation from the Ministry of Justice.

The biggest privatisation tender in the scope of energy was the sale of a 49 percent share of SPP to the consortium of Gaz de France and Ruhrgas.

Yukos (Russia) obtained a minority shareholder position in Transpetrol. As for the three regional energy distribution companies, E.ON (Germany) obtained West Slovak Energy (ZSE), Electricite de France bought Central Slovak Energy (SSE), and RWE Plus (German-based consortium) bought East Slovak Energy (VSE).

Compiled by Beata Balogová from press reports
The Slovak Spectator cannot vouch for the accuracy of the information presented in its Flash News postings.

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