Slovak Telekom privatisation plans on hold until March election

18 Oct 2011

Slovakia has suspended plans for privatising stakes in a list of companies including incumbent PSTN operator Slovak Telekom (ST), after the centre-right coalition government was toppled from power in a no-confidence vote last week. The National Property Fund (NPF) will ‘indefinitely’ suspend privatisation of several companies in which the state holds ownership, the TASR newswire reported on Friday. Last month CommsUpdate reported that the NPF was urging the government to accelerate a plan to divest its 49% interest in ST, which is 51% controlled by Germany’s Deutsche Telekom (DT), because DT had resisted three consecutive requests to pay dividends in full to the state. The country’s finance ministry reiterated in March that the state aimed to divest its 49% stake in the incumbent telco to cut the budget deficit.

The no-confidence vote which ousted the Republic’s four-party ruling coalition was tied in with a vote on expanding the European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF) bailout fund. Less than half of MPs voted, effectively blocking a decision on the fund in a tactical move to topple the government. The Smer party, with 62 of 150 parliamentary seats, backed the EFSF but held back its vote in the first ballot to trigger the government collapse. Slovakia – the euro zone’s second poorest member – subsequently approved the EFSF motion on Thursday with the help of the opposition, in return for a broad political agreement to hold an election in March 2012. President Ivan Gasparovic and party leaders yesterday failed in their first attempt to reach an agreement on an interim prime minister and caretaker government.

Slovakia, Slovak Telekom (ST, incl. T-Mobile, DIGI)