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Slovenia Business Week no. 01: Government to Speed Up Sales of its Stakes in Companies

The government intends to sell all of its below 50% stakes it holds in Slovenian companies by the end of 2007, as well as heed the advice of expert groups in selling the stakes in those companies where the government holds a majority stake

The government intends to sell all of its below 50% stakes it holds in Slovenian companies by the end of 2007, as well as heed the advice of expert groups in selling the stakes in those companies where the government holds a majority stake.

Finance Minister Andrej Bajuk has said that the companies where the state owns more than a 50% stake are not on the government's list of state property earmarked for sale in 2006, as their inclusion would pose more questions than provide answers.

However, based on privatisation plans of expert groups, the government will draft its privatisation proposals for such companies and then ask the parliament to add them to the list, he added.

Meanwhile, four of the six expert groups have already submitted their privatisation proposals to the government, namely the group for the number one and two of Slovenian banking, the Nova Ljubljanska banka and the Nova Kreditna banka Maribor.

The government also already holds the documents on privatising the national telco Telekom Slovenije and the energy sector.

However, the group deciding on the best way to privatise the country's largest insurer Zavarovalnica Triglav has until 31 January to draft its proposal, while the group on drafting the plan of sales of stakes owned by state-run KAD and SOD funds has until 31 March to finalise its proposal.

The sale programme will be drafted for every one of the state's investments, including the Slovenian Steel Group, shoe maker Peko, power producer Dravske elektrarne and aluminium producer Talum, among others.

According to economist France Krizanic, Slovenia is currently in a phase where a state's share in an individual company is exactly like any other share.

He told STA that state ownership should not be used to create monopolies, while the state can sell or buy its stakes according to profit maximisation or to the development policy goals.

It sometimes makes sense that the state retains a stake in strategically important companies, such as power producers, insurers or telecommunication companies, he explained.

The yearly dividends from such companies also pay for some of the public expenses, Krizanic added.

According to the recently adopted privatisation programme for the Slovenian Steel Group, the state intends to reduce its stake in the group to 25% plus one share. The state will likely keep such a stake in Telekom Slovenije as well.

Source: Slovene Press Agency STA

Author: STA