22 April 2002 - Slovakia is expected to agree the sale of its three regional power distribution companies shortly which is expected to net the government $500m.
E.ON and RWE of Germany and Electricité de France are expected to emerge as the successful bidders for the 49 per cent stakes with management control.
After receiving improved offers, the government's steering committee recommended E.ON's bid for Zapadoslovenske Energeticke Zavody (ZSE), the western Slovak distributor, and RWE's offer for Vychodoslovenske Energeticke Zavody (VSE), the smaller eastern Slovak distributor.
The committee will decide this week between the two bids for Stredoslovenske Energeticke Zavody (SSE), the central Slovak distributor, but EdF is tipped to be chosen ahead of E:NOI, an Italian power trader. The cabinet is likely to make the final decision in all the tenders next week.
Slovakia has up to now lagged behind its neighbours in privatising its power industry, which began a phased opening up to competition in January as the country prepares to join the European Union. A pilot privatisation of the PPC combined-cycle power plant in Bratislava failed recently after negotiations with AES of the US broke down.
The privatization of the country's dominant power generation company Slovenske Elektrarne is not now expected to take place until after elections in September after a series of delays.