No dividends from Germans once again for Slovakia

30 Jan 2012

The Slovak Spectator reports that Deutsche Telekom has decided once again to withhold dividends from the Slovakian government, a 49% shareholder in Slovak Telekom, in which the German telecoms giant owns a 51% stake. The state has repeatedly tried to secure payment of extraordinary dividends from retained earnings, currently worth EUR258 million (USD341 million), but voting at the parent group’s shareholders meetings has consistently gone against the move. Slovakia’s Ministry of the Economy complained: ‘Deutsche Telekom approaches Slovak Telekom differently to its shareholdings in other countries. Slovak Telekom has great economic results, no debt, and enough cash for immediate payment of dividends to the Slovak government. Deutsche Telekom’s decision is therefore completely beyond all understanding.’ As previously reported by CommsUpdate, in October 2011 Slovakia suspended plans for privatising the national PSTN and mobile operator, after the coalition government was toppled from power in a no-confidence vote, although it is thought likely that privatisation moves will be back on track after March 2012 elections, with the aim of cutting the budget deficit. In September the National Property Fund (NPF) had urged the government to accelerate the divestment of its 49% interest in Telekom because the majority shareholder had resisted three consecutive requests to pay dividends.