State heating companies should be privatised

The government looks set to privatise major heating companies based on the recommendation of the National Property Fund (FNM).

The coalition are discussing the proposal to privatise the six largest state-run heating companies in the country, after the FNM and the Ministry of Finance said it would be wiser to privatise them than to take annual dividends from them.

The FNM said that when weighing up the projected revenues from the sale of the heating companies against potential dividends, the best would be to sell the companies either fully or partially to strategic investors. This would also help rebalance the deficit in public finances.

The companies in question are those that operate the central supply of heat in Bratislava, Zilina, Martin, Zvolen, Trnava, and Kosice. The process could culminate within a year if the government decides to accept the recommendation.

The FNM also recommended involving international privatisation advisors in the process, while it projects revenues from the sale to total between EUR 160-200 million.

Another advantage of selling off the companies is that the government would save EU funds allocated for the sector, which it could then allocate elsewhere, like on motorway construction or the informatisation of society, pointed out the FNM. Necessary investments would become the responsibility of the strategic investors instead.

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