The Slovenia Times

Čufer Presents New Sovereign Holding Bill Proposal


Čufer pointed out that contrary to the existing act, adopted under the previous government but still not operational, the state's assets will not be automatically transferred to the new custodian of the state's investments.

The SSH - to emerge with the transformation of the existing state-run Restitution Fund (SOD) and through absorption of the Pension Fund Management (KAD) and two smaller state-run companies also managing state assets - will operate as a joint stock company owned by the state. Čufer said the joint stock company status was set in order to avoid legal complications.

Within three months after the act enters into force, the government will have to appoint an SSH supervisory board, which will decide whether to replace the three-member management board that will be carried over from SOD.

The supervisory board will be made up of five members, to be appointed by the government at the proposal of the Finance Ministry, which will be assisted in this task by a commission of experts.

Under the original law, a nine-strong supervisory board was to be appointed by parliament: four were due to be proposed by the government, four by deputy groups and one by the opposition-controlled parliamentary Finance Oversight Commission.

"The criteria will be set both with a view towards individual members, their experience, as well as with a view towards the whole team, so that members will not be of the same profile and be complementary," Čufer explained, adding that he saw "no added value in parliament deciding on this".

Conditions for membership of the SSH bodies are being stiffened to stress expert criteria and the divisions between supervision and management are more clearly defined, while there is also more material accountability, the minister summed up the proposal, which he feels will not see many changes before being adopted by the government.

KAD, the DSU fund and the restructuring firm PDP will be merged into the SDH within six months, while things will practically not change for KAD's insurance arm Modra zavarovalnica, which will be a part of the SSH as an affiliated company. All investments in companies managed by the SDH will also have the status of affiliated companies.

The SDH will manage the present assets of SOD, KAD, DSU and PDP, whereas there will be no automatic transfer of state shares in individual companies to the holding. Contracts on the management of these shares will be signed between the SDH and the state. If individual governments wish so, a transfer will still be possible.

"We wished that the law stays in place for more than one government," the minister said, explaining that roughly half of the state's assets, estimated at a total of EUR 9bn, will be fall under SSH, while half will remain in the form of the state's direct holdings in individual companies.

Čufer rejected opposition to the absorption of KAD, including from the coalition Pensioners' Party (DeSUS), saying that only a centralised approach to asset management can be effective. As regards the EUR 50m contributed by KAD annually to the pension purse, he said that this can also be provided from the budget, "as this makes no difference to public finances".

Another potential stumbling block will be the plan - a change from the original law - to give the SSH a 34.5% stake in Zavarovalnica Triglav, the country's no. 1 insurer, which has so far been held by KAD.

Meanwhile, the SSH bill, which does not mentioned privatisation directly, will soon be followed up with a strategy outlining strategic, important and portfolio investments managed by the SSH and plans for them. Both documents, which Čufer says are complementary, will need to be confirmed in parliament.

Thus, the government is not preparing a second privatisation package, which was mentioned as a possibility in the past, but a comprehensive strategy. The strategy was originally announced for the end of September, but will be delayed by some two months because of the delay in finalising the new SSH bill.

Čufer announced a stepping up of privatisation efforts, which will be managed in full by the SSH.


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