BUSINESS IN SHORT

Decision over SPP purchase to be made in September

THE STATE could gain control of all the stock in its main gas utility, Slovenský Plynárenský Priemysel (SPP). The final decision over the purchase of the 49-percent share, currently controlled by Czech company Energetický a Průmyslový Holding (EPH), could be made by the end of September, the SITA newswire reported on August 27.

THE STATE could gain control of all the stock in its main gas utility, Slovenský Plynárenský Priemysel (SPP). The final decision over the purchase of the 49-percent share, currently controlled by Czech company Energetický a Průmyslový Holding (EPH), could be made by the end of September, the SITA newswire reported on August 27.

The documents with which the government approved the purchase of the minority share in SPP in December 2012 contain a clause stating that the state might acquire the stock by the end of this year for about €58.8 million, which would allow it to control the setting of gas prices. In return, EPH will be allowed to control the profit-making subsidiaries of SPP, SITA wrote.

The agreement will depend on negotiations with Russian Gazprom over the changes in gas prices and talks over the future of relations with the gas reservoirs, said Economy Minister Tomáš Malatinský, as reported by SITA.

In the event that both negotiations yield positive results, SPP might become a “relatively competitive” trader, of which the state might take advantage, the minister added, SITA informed.

Malatinský did not want to comment on the entrance of Czech EPH into SPP at the beginning of the year, when it bought the minority package from German E.ON Ruhrgas and French GDF Suez for €2.6 billion. The company is controlled by Czech businessmen Daniel Křetinský and Petr Kellner, and Slovak financial group J&T.

“The new investor has the ambition to restructure SPP,” Malatinský said, as quoted by SITA, adding that they expect it will improve the operation of the firm.

The minister also added that EPH is different from the two previous foreign owners of SPP, as they were two different international concerns, which sometimes made the decision-making more complicated. Malatinský also indicated that the decisions by two previous owners might not always be made in the company’s favour, as reported by SITA.

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