IN SHORT OF BUSINESS

Four bidders for SE power utility

THREE investors out of the four firms that submitted bids yesterday for a 66 percent stake in the state power utility Slovenské elektrárne (SE) are interested in acquiring SE as a whole, including its nuclear assets, the Pravda daily wrote.

According to the Economics Ministry, the bidders include the Czech company ČEZ, the Russian InterRAO, Italian Enel, and Austrian Verbund. The latter, however, is likely to be disqualified because it is not interested in SE's nuclear plants.

Peter Mitka, from the cabinet's SE privatisation advisor, PriceWaterhouseCoopers (PWC), said the final contract with the winning firm could be signed as early as October of this year. Based on PWC's recommendation, which should be ready within two weeks, a 15-member committee will select a favourite and forward its choice to the cabinet.

It is unclear how much the state will profit from selling the SE stake. Two years ago, the National Property Fund predicted that the sale of a 49 percent stake could yield more than Sk49 billion (€1.2 billion).

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