Fico rejects Malatinsky plan for immediate sale of entire Telekom stake; still considering options

18 Jun 2012

Slovak prime minister Robert Fico has overruled a proposal from the economy minister Thomas Malatinsky to sell off the government’s minority stake in incumbent PTO and cellular network operator Slovak Telekom (ST). As reported last month by CommsUpdate, Malatinsky stated that the government should resume a plan to sell its 49% stake in ST, while TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database notes that the previous administration had planned to offload its shares in ST by autumn 2012 at the latest, preferably via an initial public offering (IPO) – partly due to disgruntlement at majority owner Deutsche Telekom refusing to pay dividends. When the coalition collapsed in October 2011 privatisation plans were suspended, although they had been expected to get back on track following the leftist Smer-SD party’s outright win at the March 2012 elections. However, as reported by local news source SME, the prime minister has rejected Malatinsky’s proposal to offload the entire 49% stake, and a spokesperson instead stated to the press that the government currently prefers to look at other solutions such as the sale of a smaller stake, while intending to follow a policy of privatizing strategic assets in the longer term. A final decision on the sale of its shareholding in Telekom has not been arrived at yet, the report added, while the head of the National Property Fund Branislav Bacik is overseeing a tender for selecting a privatisation advisor, with 30 June provisionally set as a deadline. Meanwhile, the government, via the economy ministry, has submitted a motion that all ongoing privatisation processes for strategic stakes initiated by the previous administration be suspended for the time being.

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