Cabinet ministers have approved the sale of a 49-percent stake in the gas utility Slovenský Plynárenský Priemysel (SPP). The cabinet voted on Wednesday, December 12, to approve draft documents that the state as the 51-percent shareholder in SPP should now sign with the potential new owner of the 49-percent stake.
The Czech company Energetický a Průmyslový Holding (EPH) will now become the minority stakeholder in Slovakia's biggest natural gas supplier, the SITA newswire wrote. EPH will buy the firm Slovak Gas Holding B.V. from current owners E.ON Ruhrgas and GDF Suez, via which they control a minority stake in SPP. By approving the necessary documents, the state definitely gave up its pre-emptive right to buy the SPP stake that is to be sold. According to the approved documents necessary to complete the transaction, Slovakia might still acquire a 100-percent stake in SPP’s parent company itself by the end of next year at the latest. Thus, the state would have full control over pricing in the biggest gas supplier in the country. In core subsidiaries of what is Slovakia’s dominant natural gas supplier, SPP-distribúcia and the firm Eustream, the majority shareholder should be SPP itself with a 51-percent stake, while EPH would control 49 percent – but have managerial control.
The new distribution of shares in the SPP group on which the government FNM privatisation agency, the Economy Ministry and EPH have agreed is not necessarily final. The parties involved will reorganise the SPP group based on an in-depth audit after EPH purchase of Slovak Gas Holding. The state will have the right to carry out the audit. If, after the completion of the audit, the state will not want to keep 100 percent of the shares in the SPP group, it will have the right to sell a 49-percent stake to EPH, the Economy Ministry explained.
Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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