Fico cancels meeting in Rome

PRIME Minister Robert Fico originally claimed to visit Italy in June to discuss the sale of the majority share in the Slovenské Elektrárne (SE) electricity producer with its majority owner, company Enel.

Mochovce nuclear power stationMochovce nuclear power station (Source: TASR)

However, no meeting took place in June. One of the reasons for cancelling the talks with Enel head Francesco Starace might be the interest of the Chinese to purchase the 66-percent stock, the Denník N daily reported. They, however, still have not confirmed their interest in buying the share.

“You will have to ask the Slovak PM, not Enel, about the reasons to cancel the planned meeting,” the Italian company told Denník N, adding that the new date should be set to July. The government, however, refuses to answer the daily’s questions.

Though it is still not clear why Fico cancelled the planned meeting, one possibility is that it was caused by potential interest of the Chinese state-run company CNNC. Compared to other potential bidders, consortium of Hungarian state-run firm MVM and Slovnaft, Finnish company Fortum, and Czech EPH holding, it is the biggest favourite as it has enough capital, and also experiences with nuclear power.

One of the topics Fico wanted to discuss was the possibilities to strengthen the position of Slovakia in the company, where it currently controls 34 percent. The plan is to obtain control over 51 percent of the shares, or even more, according to Denník N.

The problem, however, is that Enel still has not completed the construction of the nuclear blocks in the Mochovce power plant, which should cost at least €5 billion. Moreover, regarding the current prices of electricity, SE has only limited chances to be in black numbers. This means that the country will burden its citizens with higher risk, Denník N wrote.

The Italians have already said they might sell part of the shares by the end of the year, and the rest after the Mochovce power plant is completed.

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