Lipsic Points To Questionable EUR 384M Loan in SPP Affair
In the latest development in the scandal surrounding the restructuring and sale of gas utility Slovensky plynarensky priemysel (SPP) a contract has apparently just been signed where the Ministry of Economy agreed to loan some EUR 384 million to Energeticky a Prumyslovy Holding (EPH), the new part owners of SPP and its subsidiaries, against no collateral and with the start of repayments deferred until 2020.
Independent MP Daniel Lipsic, now running with his NOVA party, drew attention to the dubious deal, which ironically was being endorsed at the very time Prime Minister Robert Fico was facing a no-confidence motion in parliament over the affair. At a press conference yesterday, Lipsic said the whopping EUR 384 million loan will come from the parent company SPP, which the PM so proudly declared will be fully state run, and be executed by the end of this week.
Even though the loan is essentially being handed out by a state-owned company to a privately owned company, no collateral has been set for the company SGH representing EPH, which recently took over a 49% stake in the SPP holding from the previous French and German shareholders (Gaz de France and Ruhrgas).
The company SGH will even enjoy an exceptional grace period until 2020 before having to pay anything back, claims Lipsic, who said economy minister Tomas Malatinsky sealed the deal as the PM was facing the vote of no confidence. Lipsic noted how the company had no collateral to offer and had also only acquired the stake in SPP by using loans.
Lipsic is therefore calling on the government to halt the transaction, saying the deal was “only advantageous for SGH”, as it would get money from the government to cover the debt from acquiring SPP in the first place.