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Weakening USD caused SPP loss but reduced foreign debt

SDKÚ-DS MP and former finance minister Ivan Mikloš on January 30 defended the 2002 privatization of the Slovak Gas Industry (SPP).

SDKÚ-DS MP and former finance minister Ivan Mikloš on January 30 defended the 2002 privatization of the Slovak Gas Industry (SPP).

"It's nonsense and lies," said Mikloš, referring to a report on the SPP sale recently prepared by the Economy Ministry.

According to Mikloš, the author's arguments show incompetence and unfamiliarity with the conditions under which large international purchases operate. He refuted accusations about not insuring the risks resulting from exchange rate volatility by saying that in such cases it's impossible to insure against risks. He said that although Slovakia lost Sk7 billion (€208 million) due to the exchange rate between the Slovak crown and U.S. dollar, at the same time, expressed in crowns, foreign debt in the U.S. dollar account fell.

Mikloš also denied that SPP was sold below its market value.

"It's true that the selling party (Slovakia) set SPP's value at $6-8 billion, but the seller is always interested in showing that what he sells has a greater value."

On the other hand, he said that the estimate from the purchase was only $2 billion. According to Mikloš, the only market price was the price the interested party paid, and that was $2.7 billion. TASR

p>Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports

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