13 August 2002 – The Slovakian economy ministry said Monday that it expects ten bidders to compete for the sale of a minority stake and management control of the country’s dominant power producer Slovenske Elecktrarne.
Eight of those expressing interest in acquiring between 46 and 49 per cent and management control in the debt-laden power generator are European energy firms, while the other two are large financial institutions offering to take part as members of consortia, the ministry said.
“The number and quality of the interested parties gives a good signal that the future strategic investor or consortium…will financially consolidate the company, bring know-how, insure SE’s competitiveness and integrate the firm into Europe’s energy sector,” the ministry said in a statement.
The outcome of the sale, which is the last major sale of state assets, will not be known until after the next general elections in September but the government plans to make a shortlist of potential bidders and then ask them to submit non-binding bids by late September.
The government has asked potential investors to specify whether they want to buy the stake and management rights in Slovenske Elektrarne (SE) as it is, or in two new companies – one that would operate two nuclear power stations and one to run SE’s conventional power plants.
The two new firms would have to be created if bidders preferred such a sale, with SE initially owning 100 per cent in each of them.
SE has an 85 per cent share of the domestic electricity production market. It produced 27 215 GW in 2001, of which 70 per cent was sold to local distribution companies, 19 per cent was exported, and the rest went directly to local clients.
The company’s overall production capacity was 6 999 MW in 2001. SE is currently undergoing complex restructuring, focused mainly on its debt of 58.9bn crowns ($ 1.3bn) at the end of last year.
SE’s own capital was 55.1bn crowns at that date, and its assets totalled 145.6bn.
The government has not revealed how much it wants to get from the sale, and analysts have said it is difficult to estimate SE’s value, partly due to its high level of debt.