BUSINESS IN SHORT

SPP sues the state

SLOVAKIA’S main gas utility, Slovenský Plynárenský Priemysel (SPP), which is 51-percent state-owned, has filed 15 lawsuits against the state at the Bratislava Regional Court. SPP accuses the regulatory office of not unlawfully barring it from increasing the prices it charges for natural gas by 13.4 percent. Lawyers warn that the lawsuits will be only a first step, the Pravda daily reported.

SLOVAKIA’S main gas utility, Slovenský Plynárenský Priemysel (SPP), which is 51-percent state-owned, has filed 15 lawsuits against the state at the Bratislava Regional Court. SPP accuses the regulatory office of not unlawfully barring it from increasing the prices it charges for natural gas by 13.4 percent. Lawyers warn that the lawsuits will be only a first step, the Pravda daily reported.

SPP spokesperson Ondrej Šebesta would not confirm a report in the Pravda daily in which it cited an unnamed SPP employee as saying the company was not seeking financial compensation.

“The purpose of these lawsuits is to find out whether the regulatory office made its decision in accordance with the valid law,” the employee said, as quoted by Pravda.

The state-run Regulatory Office for Network Industries (ÚRSO) allowed two rises in gas prices earlier this year – the first in January, by 4.5 percent; then another in July, of 7 percent. It did not accept SPP’s case that a higher increase in prices was needed because of a rise on the price of gas imported from Russia. SPP said it lost €70 million as a result of ÚRSO’s refusal.

Some lawyers expect that the 15 lawsuits will be only the first step, Pravda wrote. It quoted them as saying that if SPP won the cases, it would then seek financial compensation of up to €100 million.

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