The Slovenia Times

Privatisation Blueprint Confirmed

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While the strategy involves performance targets and expected returns, its key part is a classification of state-owned companies worth an estimated EUR 11bn to strategic, important and portfolio investments.

The majority of the most valuable firms - including infrastructure and energy companies such as rail operator Slovenske ┼żeleznice and port operator Luka Koper- have been designated as strategic.

In these 24 firms the state plans to retain 50% plus one share at minimum through the Slovenian Sovereign Holding (SSH).

In the 21 important investments, which includes blue chips Petrol, Krka and Sava Re, it plans to retain a controlling stake.

The remaining 46 on the list, mostly small firms in which the state has minority interests but also the recently nationalised banks and significant stakes in several casinos, will be sold.

The strategy has been welcomed overall as a much-needed document that will finally give the SSH a map to navigate its management policies.

The core target, to be achieved by 2020 through improved governance and restructuring of troubled companies, is be a 9% return on investment.

But it has also been met with dismay by the opposition, due to ideological differences as well as the perception that the document is largely a result of political trading.

"Some companies are strategic - not for the people but for the political parties, which use some of them as ATMs," said Jo┼żef Horvat of the New Slovenia (NSi).

The centre-right parties also said it in effect signals the cessation of privatisation after the first package of 15 companies that are not subject to the strategy is sold off.

"Too many companies are designated as strategic. This will arrest privatisation and the quest for responsible owners," he said.

The United Left (ZL), on the other hand, labelled it as "an act that continues uninformed privatisation. It is "a privatisation strategy," claimed ZL deputy Luka Mesec.

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