Weekly: How Prime Minister Spreads Fear Among Investors
Last week, Czech energy group CEZ was the first company which started considering its absence in the final stage of the sale of a 66-percent stake in the power utility Slovenske Elektrarne. Prime Minister’s statements that he will to let Italians leave Slovakia are to be blamed.
It seems that the strong words of Prime Minister regarding the sale of a majority stake in Slovenske Elektrarne are beginning to show results. Last week, Czech energy group CEZ, one of the hottest candidates, was the first company which started considering its absence in the final stage of the sale of a 66-percent stake in the power utility Slovenske Elektrarne. Czech energy giant says that it is not worth buying Italian stake unless the government agrees with the sale. According to other statements of Prime Minister, the state will do all possible and impossible obstructions in the sale of the Slovak dominant electricity producer provided Italians do not complete Mochovce NPP. The government is aware that it has no real legal tools to prevent from the sale of Slovenske Elektrarne, but potential investors will hardly enter the business if they feel the anger of of the ruling class.
Not all investors got scared after strong speeches by government representatives. The second known contestant who publicly expressed tentative interest in Slovenske Elektarne, refinery Slovnaft managed by the Hungarian MOL along with the Hungarian company MVM, announced they would fight for Slovenske Elektrarne despite PM’s statements. The consortium even promised to finish Mochovce NPP. Hungarian investor does not lack the courage. Maybe he thinks that he will be able to submit a lower bid than if Slovenske Elektrane was sold in a politically peaceful environment. In any case, the sale of Slovak dominant electricity producer will be cheerful.
We were abused
The European Commission informed last week that Gazprom abused Central and Eastern European countries during talks on natural gas supplies. Slovakia is one of the abused. Russian giant obviously rejects the accusations and is ready to defend itself. We may argue for some time to see who was right. One thing is for sure; European countries dependent only on Russian gas were certainly in much worse negotiating position than other countries that may also rely on gas supplies from Norway. And let’s say it openly that it would be quite odd if the Russians did not use their strong position in negotiations on gas contracts with its „gas slaves“. I think that not only the Russians would use such a situation for their benefit, or to be more specific – abuse the situation.
Author is editor-in-chief of portal vEnergetike.sk.