The Slovenia Times

President of The Republic Discussing Privatisation



In a privatisation process one has to bear in mind past experience, which should be both a reminder and encouragement for future actions, Pahor said, adding that the privatisation processes in the 1990s obviously caused "certain collateral damage".

According to the president, this damage "has left serious wounds in terms of trust and the efficiency and transparency of this process".

Finance Minister Uroš Čufer meanwhile pointed to what he believes is a close connection between corporate management and privatisation. If it is not clear who manages certain assets and how they are being managed, it is better to sell, he argued.

According to Čufer, it is important for the efficiency of procedures and transparency that the planned procedures are finalised. The proceeds from privatisation, in line with the government's plans, will be used for cutting public debt.

Regarding the plan to sell telecoms incumbent Telekom Slovenije, the minister said that an advisor for the sale, probably a foreign bank, will be selected by September.

Tomaž Kuntarič, the chairman of the Restitution Fund (SOD), which manages state assets until the Sovereign Holding becomes operational, said that Slovenia's credibility was on the line, pointing to the mistakes from previous privatisation efforts.

According to him, Slovenia has a problem with independence and responsibility of entities carrying out the sale procedure. He wondered what the role of SOD is if the sale procedures circumvent it.

Dagmar Komar, the former chairman of the discontinued State Assets Management Agency (AUKN), a custodian of state stakes in companies, stressed that it is important to set clear criteria for the management of state assets.

Economist Igor Masten argued that privatisation in Slovenia has been notorious to an extent because illegitimate gains have been made, and because the economic effect as the main goal of privatisation has been pushed aside.

The pressure of European partners on Slovenia to carry out privatisation is so strong because the political meddling with the state-owned companies has resulted in macroeconomic problems, he said, pointing to the importance of ethics and responsibility.

His colleague Maks Tajnikar believes that privatisation is necessary, and that the key question is what not to sell. The state should keep ownership in the fields where it is efficient, he added.

The chairman of the car maker Revoz, Aleš Bratož said it is important that a company which is being sold prepares for the sale, develop a strategy, and find a competitive advantage which is sought by the potential new owner.

Vojmir Urlep, the boss of the Swiss-owned pharma company Lek, added that the fear of foreign capital is irrational and that the 2002 sale of Lek to Novartis's subsidiary Sandoz was transparent, making Lek the biggest development centre of Sandoz.

One should not sell at any price, but there are experts in Slovenia who are capable of making good deals, Urlep added. Alenka Avberšek of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GZS) agreed with him, adding that privatisation procedures should be carried out prudently.

Infrastructure and Spatial Planning Minister Samo Omerzel said that infrastructure must remain state-owned, while that the services provided on the basis of infrastructure should be privatised.

The list of participants included Economy Minister Stanko Stepišnik, former finance minister Janez Šušteršič, former governor of the central bank and ex-minister Mitja Gaspari, several MPs, as well as business executives and law experts.


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