Former Slovak monopoly gas utility SPP could be sold in a matter of months with Czech billionaires set to take over the lucrative enterprise. Here TheDaily.SK provides you with a translation of an article today in Hospodarske Noviny.
SPP could be sold within a matter of months.
The company Slovak Gas Holding will most likely end up in in the hands of new owners within a few months. “The sooner this transpires, the better it will be from our perspective. We are not talking about two weeks, but also not of two years”, said co-owner of the group PPF Ladislav Bartoníček at a briefing with Slovak journalists in Bratislava, while he is also the executive director of Generali PPF Holding. Realistically, the sale of this holding could take place within half a year.
After Prime Minister Robert Fico announced at the beginning of July how the Slovak government would not interfere with the sale of the shares of E.ON Ruhrgas and Gaz de France Suez in Slovensky plynárensky priemysel, there is seemingly nothing now standing in the way for the German-French concern to sell its 49 percent stake in SPP, which is concentrated in the company Slovak Gas Holding. “We are building up a strong energy company in Central Europe. Energetický and priemyselný holding (EPH) is number one on the market in heat supply in the Czech Republic and number two in the generation of electricity” says Ladislav Bartoníček.
Entry to Slovensky plynárensky priemysel has been the goal of EPH in recent months. ”It will be a substantial investment that will strengthen the portfolio of EPH, where PPF is the largest shareholder with almost 45 percent” adds Bartoníček.
Transit is of interest
According to the co-owner of PPF, the next strategic step of EPH should be entry to the field of natural gas transit. “We are convinced that Slovakia, the Czech Republic and likewise also Poland, Austria and Hungary, will remain key transit countries also within the new arrangement of the European transit network”, said Bartoníček at the meeting with Slovak journalists. According to one of the shareholders in PPF Group, in which Petr Kellner is the majority owner, there is definitely scope for further improvement of efficiency in SPP.
“PPF Holding is firmly resolved to buy. The decision at the level of PPF was taken and we are prepared also in respect of resources”, added Bartoníček.
The holding PPF of Petr Kellner, which is chiefly to partake in this acquisition, refused to reveal what volume of money it expects to earmark for the purchase of SPP. “We will not specify the amount for the purchase of SPP. The majority of it is made up of shareholder capital, with a smaller part in the shape of a loan from a consortium of banks”, explains Ladislav Bartoníček. Energetický a priemyselný holding, via which the financial groups PPF and J&T want to buy the minority share of SPP with managerial control, is with all probability the only interested prospect in this 49 percent share at present.
Do I smell a connection with Benta in this deal?