The Slovenia Times

SSH Proposes Sale of Telco, But Leaves Decision to Govt


The custodian of state assets made the announcement after its management bodies reviewed the offer by Cinven in the past two days.

The SSH management and supervisory boards concluded selling the majority state stake to Cinven would be appropriate and economically viable.

Still, the supervisors did not take a final decision to sell, leaving that up to the government as the lone shareholder.

"The SSH management will call a general assembly in the shortest possible time and put forward the proposal that the [state] stake in Telekom Slovenije be sold," said chairman Matej Pirc.

Pirc explained the SSH opted for this course of action due to several factors related to the sale to Cinven, including the provisions in the sale contract on anti-trust lawsuits facing Telekom Slovenije. These determined that state would be required to provide a guarantee for liabilities that could arise for Telekom Slovenije.

The second reason is a lack of clarity on whether Cinven fits the definition of a strategic investor as set down in government documents governing the privatisation of Telekom Slovenije.

The SSH assessed in its decision that Cinven would be a responsible owner and had sufficient experience in the telecommunications sector.

It believes that the private equity fund would enable "extensive investment in the development of Telekom's network to provide for the best quality broadband and mobile services...for private and business users".

The SSH move ends days of speculation on whether the government will have the final say on the sale, prompted by the demand of the junior coalition Social Democrats (SD) - the most sceptical to the sale among the three government partners - for the government to call a general assembly of the SSH.

The Modern Centre Party (SMC) of Prime Minister Miro Cerar had meanwhile maintained that the decision on the sale was the SSH's to make, a view repeated by Cerar in an evening interview on TV Slovenija.

The move will also likely intensify the political debates which have erupted in recent days as the decision from the SSH loomed.

Earlier on Thursday, the government got acquainted with information from the SSH about the privatisation proceedings, as a group opposing privatisation led by the opposition United Left (ZL) held a press conference to restate their objections.


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