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Slovenia Business Week no. 06: Government Takes a First Look at Privatisation Proposals

Prime Minister Janez Jansa's economic affairs college reviewed the proposals for the privatisation of the banks NLB and NKBM, telco Telekom Slovenije and the energy sector, which the government has received from expert groups it appointed last year

Prime Minister Janez Jansa's economic affairs college on Tuesday, 31 January reviewed the proposals for the privatisation of the banks NLB and NKBM, telco Telekom Slovenije and the energy sector, which the government has received from expert groups it appointed last year.

The meeting clarified certain dilemmas, but some questions remain open and new ones have appeared, the prime minister's office said in a short statement, pointing out that the meeting was not designed to confirm or reject the proposals, but rather as a preliminary scrutiny of the proposals.

The meeting featured the members of the PM's college, the chairs of the privatisation groups, as well as supervisory and management board chairpersons of Nova Ljubljanska banka (NLB), Nova Kreditna banka Maribor (NKBM) and Telekom Slovenije.

The working groups entrusted with drawing up of proposals for the privatisation of Slovenia's largest banks, the national telco and the energy sector were established in November 2005.

The proposals, which will not be disclosed before the government has discussed them, are not binding for the government, which argued that a second wave of privatisation is needed to ensure the competitiveness of the corporate sector.

There is great interest in the proposal of the group assigned with the privatisation proposals for NLB. Media have speculated that the group is dissuading the state from allowing the Belgian financial giant KBC, a 34% owner, to acquire a majority stake in the bank.

Also according to unofficial information, the proposals for Telekom favour the privatisation of the telco as a group with a strategic partner, with the state keeping a 25% stake and the golden share.

Telekom is the fixed-line utility, but the group includes the country's biggest mobile provider, Mobitel, as well as the largest Internet service provider, Siol.

The government has also set up working groups for the privatisation of insurer Zavarovalnica Triglav and for the withdrawal of the Pension Fund Management fund (KAD) and Restitution Fund (SOD) from Slovenian companies. The proposals are due on 31 January and 31 March, respectively.

Source: Slovene Press Agency STA

Author: STA