Sale of Gas Utility Shares Postponed Till After Elections
Today economic daily Hospodarske Noviny published an article about the proposed sale of part of gas utility SPP. Here The Daily provides you with a translation of the article.
Bratislava – Part of the shares of Slovensky plynárensky priemysel may be sold off after the elections. The minority foreign shareholders, French Gaz de France and German E.ON Ruhrgas, which own 49 percent of the shares, want to sell part of their shares. For some time now an interest has been shown by Czech company Energetický a průmyslový holding, which is controlled by billionaire Daniel Křetínsky and the financial group J&T. It has, however, put its efforts on freeze until after the elections.
”The potential interested party officially announced to the Ministry of Economy that it was halting activities regarding the purchase of the share of minority owner of SPP. The reason for this is the fall of the government in October” ministry spokesman Róbert Merva told HN several days ago. .
It may not be alone in the battle for the gas company, though. Interest in the gas utility has long been shown also by opposition party Smer-SD, which wants to see the utility returned to state hands. If it gets into government, it wants to use the pre-emptive purchase option that the state has in the company. “For myself I can say that I would buy 49 percent of the shares” said former economy minister Lubomír Jahnátek (Smer-SD). According to information of HN, interest in SPP could also come from Czech energy giant ČEZ or the group KKCG of another Czech billionaire Karel Komarek. Interest in the package of share may also be shown by Chinese giant China Three Gorges Corporation.
The financiers started to show interest in the gas giant already last year.
From the share that is owned by the French and the Germans, they want to acquire about one third, according to information of HN. For that they could end up paying as much as a billion euro. The gas company was sold under the first government of Mikuláš Dzurinda (SDKÚ-DS). At that time the state received just under four billion euro.