Slovak minister Sulik: I don’t want Hungary to own shares in an important state company

49% of SSE now belongs to Energetický a průmyslový holding, owned by Czech billionaire Daniel Křetínský and Slovak billionaire Peter Tkáč. [Shutterstock / Robson90]

After Slovakia’s economy ministry stopped the sale of minority shares of Stredoslovenská energetika a.s. (SSE) to Hungarian state energy giant MVM, minister Richard Sulík (SaS/ECR) said he does not like the idea of Hungary making significant financial investments in Slovakia.

49% of SSE now belongs to Energetický a průmyslový holding, owned by Czech billionaire Daniel Křetínský and Slovak billionaire Peter Tkáč. However, they are selling their shares, reportedly to finance Křetínský’s investment in English football club West Ham United.

The highest offer, worth €1.2 billion, came from MVM. This offer was supposedly €300 million higher than the offer of Czech ČEZ. German E.ON is also interested.

“I don’t like that Hungary created a state fund aimed to buy out Slovak arable land, or finance renovation of churches. I don’t think it is appropriate, and that is why I am happy, that minister of foreign affairs Ivan Korčok clearly said that this is too much. I don’t want Hungary to own shares in a strategically important state company,” Sulík said.

The Hungarian government recently created a state fund to help Hungarian companies buy arable land in Slovakia and other neighbouring countries. Orban’s government scrapped this plan after strong criticism from Korčok.

Orban’s intention to buy shares in SSE created a rare moment of unity in Slovak politics. Both opposition and coalition forces pressured Sulík to block the sale. The opposition party Hlas of former prime minister Peter Pellegrini also called for full nationalisation of SSE.

SSE belongs to the strategic infrastructure of Slovakia, which means any sale of shares has to be approved by the government.

(Michal Hudec | EURACTIV.sk)

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