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Plans for money from Slovak Telekom sale revealed

PRIME Minister Robert Fico will allegedly use about €1 billion from the sale of the state’s minority stock in Slovak Telekom (ST) to buy shares in Slovenské Elektrárne (SE) electricity producer, the Hospodárske Noviny daily reported in its February 17 issue. 

Mochovce nuclear power plant(Source: Courtesy of Slovenské Elektrárne)

The government approved the sale of its 49-percent share in ST at its February 11 session.

“The government seeks possibilities to increase the state’s interest in other state-run firms, for example SE, at the expense of the useless minority share in this company [Slovak Telekom],” Fico’s spokesperson Beatrice Szabóová told Hospodárske Noviny.

The first to mention this possibility was Economy Minister Pavol Pavlis last year. At the time, however, Fico did not support such an intention. He wanted to use the money to pay for nationalisation of private health insurers.

The state currently owns 34 percent in SE, with the rest being in the hands of Italian Enel which plans to sell it. The state does not have enough money to buy all of the stock, according to Hospodárske Noviny.

Spanish bank Santander estimated the value of the 66-percent stock owned by Italians to be €3.6 billion. According to analyst with J&T Bank Michal Šnobr, it would be logical if the state increased its influence in SE. Thanks to the money from the ST sale, it would get about one half of the electricity producer’s shares.

“It is a real possibility that the government will take part of the stock from Enel,” Šnobr told Hospodárske Noviny.

Finance Minister Peter Kažimír, who wanted to use the money from SE sale to decrease Slovakia’s debt, does not comment on the intention.

“Regarding the fact that the final decision will be made by the government, it would be premature to comment,” the Finance Ministry’s press department said.

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