AFTER Slovakia’s railway giant was split into three entities in 2002 and 2005, a plan to reverse the process has now emerged. The government argues that establishing a holding company to bring the railway infrastructure operator and the passenger and cargo railway companies back under one roof would ensure the optimal functioning and competitiveness of the firms. The Ministry of Transport, Posts and Telecommunications estimates that losses in the railway sector in 2010 will amount to €290 million, after subsidies are taken into consideration.
The Transport Ministry has submitted for interdepartmental review a draft bill to establish a new joint-stock company, Slovenská Železničná Spoločnosť (SŽS), as of December 1, 2010, the SITA newswire wrote in mid April. The legislation relates to the first of three stages of a planned re-organisation of the three state-owned rail companies that will be covered by the parent company. Transport Minister Ľubomír Vážny intends to submit the draft bill to a cabinet session by May 31.
The plan has already attracted criticism from Ondrej Matej, the former director general of ZSSK Slovensko. According to SITA, he regards the launch of the holding company as part of an effort to make financial flows less transparent, following state loans provided to ŽSR and ZSSK Cargo, and to prevent or obstruct the sale of ZSSK Cargo.
26. Apr 2010 at 0:00 | Compiled by Spectator staff