Future of Gas Prices Still Undecided

photo (c) James Riden

The party interested in shares in SPP would increase prices for households by less. It won’t manage it this year. Here we produce a translation of an article in today’s SME daily.

The proposal for a 23% hike in gas prices for households may not be final. According to information of SME daily, managers of Slovensky plynárensky priemysel (SPP) are still supposed to discuss the new prices again next week. It is unsure whether the company will propose an even higher hike. “We will not comment on it” said SPP spokesman Ondrej Šebesta.

State nominee in the Board of Directors of SPP Štefan Slezák also did not wish to comment. “The issue concerns the agenda of the next meeting, which is confidential information.” The state is against The foreign shareholders of SPP, German company E.ON Ruhrgas and French Gaz de France, plan to increase prices of gas for households next year by almost a quarter.

Although the state’s nominees in the Board of Directors voted against the move, the foreign managers outvoted them. The final shape of the price proposal should be known on 31 October, when the gas company must file it with the regulatory authority. At the same time, the state is not the only one that is not happy with the planned increase in prices. It is being criticised also by the co-owner of Energeticky a prumyslovy holding (EPH), which should enter SPP by taking over the shares from the French and the Germans.

“This proposal is justified practically, but that does not mean that we would propose the same high figures” said Daniel Křetínský (in the picture from ČTK), who owns EPH together with the groups PPF Peter Kellner and J&T. He also acknowledges a certain hike in prices, though. “It is not possible to completely ignore the market gas prices.” Money isn’t everything allegedly

According to Křetínsky, the gas company has strong arguments in relation to the regulatory authority, which is to approve the proposed increase in prices. “Without an increase the company would suffer a substantial loss in the households segment” he claims. Křetínsky believes that the gas company should, however, look also at other priorities than the generation of profit. “It should partially absorb the price fluctuations on the markets and contribute to their political and social acceptability,” he claims.

Upon the current increase in gas prices it is necessary, in his opinion, to take into account also the non-financial values, such as the image of SPP in relation to the public. “When EPH should acquire a stake in SPP is not known. “Unfortunately, we cannot comment on that” reacted Křetínský. He does claim, though, that it will not be soon enough to influence the increase in gas prices for households.

Translation by Language Sense

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