On January 15, the Economy Ministry became a shareholder in the dominant fixed-line operator Slovak Telekom (ST), ministry spokesman Marián Jánošík confirmed.
The ministry received the shares from the Transport Ministry, which transferred its 34-percent stake in ST.
"The transport minister wrote to majority shareholder Deutsche Telekom AG informing it about the transaction," Jánošík added.
The Cabinet ordered the shares transferred to stem criticism from the European Commission, which disapproved of the Telecommunication Ministry’s double role as a shareholder and author of legislation affecting the sector. Moreover, the Telecommunications Office, which regulates the market, is funded from the ministry budget.
The Transport had originally thought to transfer the shares to the government’s privatization agency, and started preparations to do so last March. According to Transportation Minister Ľubomír Vážny, the transaction should have been completed by the end of June.
But that plan hit two roadblocks: transfers of state-owned assets to the government's privatization agency are possible only through a privatization project; and objections from Deutsche Telekom AG, which cited the provisions of a Shareholder Agreement signed in 2000.
The 34-percent share is valued at Sk8.84935 billion. SITA
Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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