Slovakia still wants to strengthen its position in Slovenske Elektrarne (SE) in which it holds a 34% stake, but will take into consideration other options to take control of the power producer, Economy Ministry Vazil Hudak said on October 21.
Enel, which owns 66% in SE, has already started exclusive negotiations with Czech-based energy holding EPH for the sale of its stake. Slovakia has made it clear several times it wants to strengthen its position in SE and has hired KPMG and SPP to advise it on a potential acquisition of an additional stake.
Hudak now says, however, that the government may mull other possibilities to gain more control over the utility.
“Our interest is to strengthen the position of the state in SE. How this will be achieved, whether it is through an increase in the stake or a change in the shareholder agreement or otherwise it will be shown by the analysis. Then the government will have to decide,” he said, according to Pravda daily.
EPH remains the only confirmed bidder in the Enel tender after a Hungarian consortium of Slovak refining and fuels group Slovnaft - owned by Hungary's group Mol - and Hungarian state power holding MVM dropped its bid this week. EPH has always held a clear advantage as Bratislava's favoured partner in any joint venture as its owners, from Slovak financial group J&T, are reportedly on good terms with Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico. The holding owns a minority stake in gas company SPP, with the state holding 51%, but maintains operational control.
The Hungarian bidders added that concerns over the risk stemming from the long-delayed and over-budget project to expand the Mochovce nuclear plant had also persuaded it to drop its interest. Slovakia’s Nuclear Regulatory Authority announced on October 20 the project is likely to suffer a new delay.
Mochovce's third block, which is scheduled to be put into commercial operation in November 2016, is now expected to be launched in the first quarter of 2017, while the fourth reactor will be launched in the first quarter of 2018. Hudak reiterated he is not satisfied with the pace of the construction works and will push Enel to complete it on time.
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