Reformed state assets strategy drafted

The details of the proposal have not been revealed, but unofficial reports suggest some restrictions will be lifted.

The strategy, passed in parliament in July last year, lists state-owned holdings in companies, which are worth in excess of ten billion euros, and defines goals for their management.

It remains unclear what changes SSH has proposed. "We will be able to comment on the content once [the strategy] is examined by the government. This is a complex process," SSH said in a press release.

Some media reports suggest some changes would be made to the classification of state assets, a key part of the strategy that is in effect a blueprint for privatisation.

One such change would be that SSH's and the ZPIZ pension fund's stakes in insurer Zavarovalnica Triglav would no longer be treated as strategic investment, which remain state-owned.

SSH is also said to have proposed that its controlling stakes in steel producer SIJ and its stakes in Geoplin, spa operator Terme Olimia and Sava Re turn from important investments, in which the state retains a controlling stake, to portfolio investments designated for sale.

The state's nearly 48% stake in gaming company HIT would meanwhile move from portfolio to strategic investments.

Notably, it is believed restrictions to the concentration of ownership will be lifted for NLB bank, energy company Petrol, pharma maker Krka, Sava Re and conglomerate Sava.

Under the current strategy, no single shareholder can exceed the state's stake, which is seen as a major hurdle to privatisation, especially of NLB, which is to be privatised by the end of next year.

The reform strategy will now be scrutinised, first by the Finance Ministry and then by the government. A heated debate is expected considering the scope of the reportedly proposed changes and given the experience with the drafting of the original strategy.

The coalition Pensioners' Party (DeSUS) has already indicated it would oppose any change with regard to Zavarovalnica Triglav. "Triglav no longer being classified as a strategic investment is unacceptable," DeSUS president Karl Erjavec told the STA.

Under current plans, the state's stake in Triglav would be transferred to a new Demographic Fund, whose sole purpose would be to channel returns towards state pensions.

DeSUS has made the Demographic Fund a centrepiece of its policy activities and is seen as being in control of activities leading to its establishment.

According to law, any changes to the strategy need to be confirmed by the National Assembly.