Poland plans renationalisation of companies, says PM

By bne IntelliNews March 2, 2016

Poland will seek to buy back control in companies that have been privatised, as well as strengthen leverage over those still under state-control, Prime Minister Beata Szydlo told local media on March 2.

The PM’s words appear to signal a new, and rapid, step in the strategy of the ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party to expand its grip on the country and increase the role of the state in the economy.

"It is our goal ... to strengthen the position of the state treasury in all companies that the state still controls. We will also return as owners to those companies that have once been sold out but to which it is yet possible to return," the PM told PiS-backing weekly Gazeta Polska. She did not name any specific company that would be a target for renationalisation.

PiS has long criticised the previous Civic Platform (PO) government for its privatisation programme. Szydlo claimed the strategy was simply "whatever could be sold, was sold." The new Polish government has made little secret of its admiration for the populist and statist stance of the Fidesz government in Hungary, and has copied several of its flagship policies already.

Budapest has nationalised much of the energy sector, as well as some major banks, over the past few years. Press reports suggest insurer PZU is set to relaunch a bid from last year to "repolonise" the banking sector, and is in talks with a pair of foriegn groups seeking an exit.

Earlier this week, the Treasury Minister Dawid Jackiewicz said Poland will halt privatisation deals, as it sees no need to sell assets. Meanwhile, he added, some past deals – such as the sell off of a stake in copper and silver miner KGHM in 2010 - are under scrutiny. The state control of many companies has been whittled away in recent years, and several are controlled by the treasury via minority stakes.



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