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Weekly: Incredible Tangled Sale

Robert Fico
Ilustračné foto. SITA

Italian company Enel launched the sale of its 66-percent stake in Slovenske Elektrarne in early summer 2014. Since then, the entire sale process complicated enormously. Last week, Italian investor found out the real interest in a majority stake in Slovak dominant electricity producer. The public has not been provided with any information. Italians leave everything in secret for now. There are only two investors who were not ashamed to confirm their interest; company Slovnaft, which is bidding for Slovenske Elektrarne along with the Hungarian MVM Group, and the Czech energy group EPH, which is well-known in Slovakia for its presence in several energy companies. It is not clear how much these investors are willing to pay to Italians for the majority stake. For example, Slovak Finance Minister has a clear idea about the price which he estimated to zero. Nobody seems to disclose how much investors are willing to pay in the end, as the Slovak government joined the game. The Slovak government is a holder of a 34-percent stake in Slovenske Elektrarne. The government led by Robert Fico has revealed its intention to purchase a minimum 17-percent stake to become a majority owner of Slovenske Elektrarne. The government is also interested in the management control. Everything is to be agreed in Italy, in June.

If the state finally reaches an agreement with Enel, it will be interesting to see the investor that will be interested in entering Slovenske Elektrarne as a minority shareholder without management control. Or will the state eventually not take over the management control as declared by the Prime Minister and will the investor be satisfied with a minority stake, but with decision-making rights? After all, EPH has this experience from Slovakia. The company owns minority stakes in energy companies, but with management control, and it seems that it quite suits the company.

Slovenske Elektrarne may also have three owners in the end; the state, Enel and a third new investor. This possibility was admitted by Enel’s CEO. Slovak Prime Minister is threatening Enel that it will obstruct the sale of its stake in Slovenske Elektrarne until Mochovce NPP is completed. Although the completion of the two nuclear blocks has started, as confirmed by the Nuclear Regulatory Authority for the portal vEnergetike.sk, it is difficult to imagine that Italians will be willing to voluntarily take responsibility for completion of such a demanding investment with even smaller stake in Slovenske Elektrarne than their own today.

Enel may not see the end of this matter. The one thing is clear that the Italians would like to see the end of the sale by the end of this year. Slovak Prime Minister may award himself with a green card for knotting the sale of Slovenske Elektrarne thanks to what he may come out as the winner of this matter. This will surely be helpful ahead of parliamentary elections.

Author of the portal is editor-in-chief of portal vEnergetike.sk.

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