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Government halts sale of Slovak Telekom shares via stock exchange

THE FLOATING of Slovak Telekom shares on the stock exchange over the past couple of days has set the value of the state’s 49-percent stake in the company at €750 million which is the minimum price laid down by the government. However, it has decided to put a halt to the stock exchange sale in light of a new bid, Finance and Economy Minister Peter Kažimír said on May 7.

(Source: SME)

Kažimír added that overall demand on the stock exchange reached 1.6-times the volume of the shares on offer. The minister assessed the whole process as a successful one, but he also revealed that a strategic investor has contacted the government with a binding bid that is more favourable. Kažimír refused to provide any further details as regards the identity of the investor and/or the bid.

The minister specified that this led the government to put a halt to the process of selling the stake via stock exchanges and to launch negotiations on the aforementioned bid. “As we always try to be the best possible managers we’ve rejected the offer generated on the stock exchange,” he explained.

Some of the shares were also available to individuals, with some 2,500 people from Slovakia responding to the offer. They were subsequently asked to arrange for an account at Slovenská Sporiteľňa bank where they currently have the sum required for purchasing the ordered shares. Branislav Bačík of the National Property Fund (FNM) said that everything has been arranged to make sure that the halt to the sale of the shares would not cost the people involved anything.

In scrapping the sale of the state’s 49-percent stake in Slovak Telekom via the stock exchange, the government has hoodwinked citizens and play-acted as though it had aimed to act in a transparent manner, opposition politicians reacted.

“A play has been put on yet again that was designed to lend the impression of transparency and fairness towards the public while in the background a transaction with some pre-agreed investor or interested entity was being prepared,” said Slovak Democratic and Christian Union (SDKÚ) MP Ľudovít Kaník. Opposition politicians agreed that, as far as transparency goes, nothing beats a sale of the state’s stake in any company via the stock exchange.

"So all of a sudden there’s an investor,” independent MP Jozef Kollár said. “I’m concerned about there being shell companies involved yet again.”

Decisions on buying a stake in a company are not made from one day to another, Kaník added. “It’s a matter of long-term analyses. The investor certainly didn’t make the decision this morning. Apparently not everything is right,” he summed up.

According to the information directly from the Prague exchange where the shares of the telecommunications company were to be traded as well, a bidder offered €850 million. The ministry did not comment on the information, the Hospodárske noviny daily wrote on May 11. According to Bloomberg agency, this bidder is the German Deutsche Telekom company. Managing partner of KPMG Ľuboš Vančo says that it is an advantageous bid and added that it is a logical step of the German company.

Topic: IT

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