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Government hesitates over purchase of SPP stake

The Slovak government has still not decided whether it will take a 100-percent stake in the parent company of Slovak gas utility SPP. A decision about whether to buy the 49-percent stake in SPP from its Czech shareholder, the company EPH (Energetický a Průmyslový Holding) should be made by mid-May.

The Slovak government has still not decided whether it will take a 100-percent stake in the parent company of Slovak gas utility SPP. A decision about whether to buy the 49-percent stake in SPP from its Czech shareholder, the company EPH (Energetický a Průmyslový Holding) should be made by mid-May.

The Economy Ministry, which formally owns 51 percent of the shares in SPP on behalf of the state, was supposed to inform the cabinet of Prime Minister Robert Fico about the pros and cons of the transaction by the end of March; this deadline was later postponed until the end of April.

"The term of the option to express an opinion on whether to buy SPP was extended until the end of May. We assume that we will get the information from consultants by May 15 of this year," Economy Ministry spokesman Stanislav Jurikovič told the SITA newswire on April 30, hinting that the analysis should show whether it is in the state’s interest to acquire the SPP stakes.

EPH, controlled by Czech entrepreneurs Daniel Křetínský and Petr Kellner and the Slovak financial group J&T, earlier this year bought a 49-percent stake in SPP for €2.6 billion from its foreign shareholders, E.ON Ruhrgas and GDF Suez. The Slovak government unlocked the sale of the 49-percent stake in December last year, after reaching an agreement with EPH. According to the agreement, by the end of 2014 Slovakia has the option – for €58.8 million – to buy a 100-percent stake in the parent company of SPP itself. The government would thus gain control over pricing at the largest Slovak gas supplier.

SPP itself should be the majority shareholder in the main subsidiaries of the Slovak dominant gas supplier, SPP-distribúcia and in the company Eustream, with a 51-percent share and EPH group, with 49-percent share, retaining management control.

Source: SITA

Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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