Business News

Coalition in Breakthrough on First Stage of Privatisation

Ljubljana, 11 June (STA) - The leaders of the four parties making up the ruling coalition agreed on the details of the first stage of privatisation on Tuesday, paving the path for the government's plan to sell 15 companies to enter parliamentary passage.

The agreement was reached at a meeting on Tuesday at which the leaders debated the reservations of the Social Democrats (SD) in regards to the sale.

In response to the concerns of the SD, the coalition agreed that the government would draft additional measures to minimise speculation related to the sale, Jani Möderndorfer of Positive Slovenia (PS), the biggest coalition party, said after the meeting.

As part of the measures, the Corruption Prevention Commission and the Court of Audit would be invited to oversee the sale.

"These were the requests of the SD and we had no complaints," said Möderndorfer, who said he expected that the parliamentary Finance and Monetary Policy Committee could discuss the proposal for the first stage of privatisation as early as Friday.

This would in turn enable parliament to convene an emergency session next week to confirm the government's plan to sell 15 companies, including the NKBM bank and telco Telekom Slovenije.

The debate at the committee was suspended last Friday after the coalition failed to get the SD on board.

SD leader Igor Lukšič said after today's meeting that the party wanted to get more details about how the list of companies slated for sale in the first stage had been drawn up. "There needs to be to why these companies have been selected," he said.

Moreover, he said commitments had to be made in order to avoid mistakes and to scare off all those who might be looking to "dip their hands in the cookie jar".

Leader of the Pensioner's Party (DeSUS) Karl Erjavec said that the agreement should secure that the first stage of privatisation is approved in parliament next week. He said he expected that "we will realise what we have promised Brussels and financial markets".

The government's plan involves the offloading of state stakes in flag carrier Adria Airways, adhesive products maker Aero, sports equipment maker Elan, laser maker Fotona and coatings maker Helios, which are already on sale.

In addition to this, the first stage would also involve the sale of stakes in airport operator Aerodrom Ljubljana; Adria Airways Tehnika, the maintenance branch of the flag carrier; the NKBM bank; telco Telekom Slovenije; chemicals processing company Cinkarna Celje; Ljubljana fairgrounds operator Gospodarsko razstavišče; tissue maker Paloma; Terme Olimija spa; tools maker Unior; and bread and pasta maker Žito.

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