from CEE Insight..
July 17, 2013
By A B
The Slovakian government announced plans to split and sell off parts of incumbent cargo operator ZSSK Cargo, according to media reports, July 10.
“The Slovak government decided today to divide indebted state-run railway freight operator ZSSK Cargo into several companies and enable private investors to acquire stakes in them,” Slovakian online news journal, The Daily SK, reported.
The government announced that it will be splitting ZSSK Cargo into three companies. One company will manage the freight service, the second will run “combined transport” and the third will deal with services and repairs. The parent company, owned by the state, is expected to retain ownership of the freight services, while shares from the other two subsidiaries will be sold to the private sector.
It is unclear how large the stakes offered to private investors will be, although with company financial results seeing a loss of EUR 283.5 mln at 2012-end, the state may want large private investment to plug the financial hole.
The original privatization was launched in 2006. It was halted after current Prime Minister Robert Fico won elections in that year. Fico has publicly been opposed to privatizing state players, and he is now being accused by the opposition of retracting from this policy.
Fico has replied to critics saying said that the split of ZSSK Cargo will rescue the company from financial disaster.
The Slovak government has also not ruled out the possibility of a merger between ZSSK Cargo and its Czech counterpart CD Cargo.