THE CABINET has not approved the final closure of the sale of a 66-percent stake in power utility Slovenské Elektrárne (SE) to Italian energy giant Enel. Economy Minister Ľubomír Jahnátek said some cabinet members considered some issues unresolved, which is why more time is needed to discuss them. The minister did not specify which issues remain unresolved, and which ministers had objections to the draft, the SITA newswire reported.
According to a draft closure of the SE privatisation agreed with Enel, Slovakia was due to avoid further payments of €193 million. Enel could have demanded the payments based on privatisation contracts signed during SE's sale.
Jahnátek said that the sum should have comprised about €80 million from the additional evaluation of SE's assets and funds that SE provided in the past for activities of the Združenie Dunaj Association, related to the Gabčíkovo-Nagymaros hydropower project.
Opposition Slovak Democratic and Christian Union (SDKÚ) deputy and former finance minister Ivan Mikloš argued that the government had confirmed through its so-called ‘zero variant’ settlement of the purchase price for the 66-percent stake in SE that its claims about a ‘cheap sale’ of the power utility by the previous government were nonsense.
“The contract enabled an analysis to be elaborated since signing the contract until its close, whether there are reasons to raise or slash the price,” SITA quoted Mikloš as saying. “In other words, the government had opportunities given by the contract to raise the price. Why did the current government not do so, if it is criticising the previous government for having sold the power utility at too low a price?”
In reaction Jahnátek asked why the former government had sold the power utility at a price that did not cover even one-third of the investment required to complete the third and fourth units at the Mochovce nuclear power plant.
2. Nov 2009 at 0:00 | Compiled by Spectator staff