18 Jan 2002 – Slovakia’s sell off of minority shares in its distribution and generation assets has attracted the interest of German power group RWE which now plans to submit preliminary bids by the end of January for all three distribution companies.

Slovakia is selling 49 per cent of three regional distribution companies – Zapadoslovenske Energeticke Zavody (ZSE), Vychodoslovenske Energeticke Zavody (VSE), and Stredoslovenske Energeticke Zavody (SSE) – the state will retain 51 percent in the companies.

Klaus Bussfeld, an executive board member of RWE unit RWE Plus said that RWE would be making a detailed analysis of the businesses, “Our intention is to submit bids for all three companies.”

Slovakia is moving ahead with the partial privatization as part of a package of measures linked to its EU application. Following the sale of distribution assets the government intends to make available a 45 per cent stake in power generator Slovenske Elektrarne (SE). Tenders for SE are planned for the first half of 2002 although the process may be delayed until after the next elections scheduled for Autumn of this year.

The three firms are connected to high voltage transmission grids in neighbouring countries, which could make them more attractive for investors if Slovakia joins the European Union, which the government hopes to achieve in 2004.

“Slovakia, with its geographical position and development opportunities, will be an important country in the region,” Bussfeld told a news conference.

The preliminary bidders will be reduced down to a shortlist who will be permitted to carry out due diligence in the distributors.