Slovenia to privatise 15 companies to avoid EU bailout

Slovenia’s government plans to dispose of 15 state-owned companies, including its second largest bank Nova KBM, largest telecommunications group Telekom Slovenia, flag carrier Adria Airways and Ljubljana Airport, as part of its efforts to avoid international bailout, Reuters cited finance minister Uros Cufer as saying.

The programme, which also includes an increase in value added tax (VAT) to 22% from 20% as of 1 July, would allow Slovenia to remain a completely sovereign state, Cufer said.

The government gave no details about the timeframe for the privatisations, or the price it targets for the companies it plans to sell, but said it would not retain blocking interests in them.

The plan is to be sent to the European Commission on Friday, Reuters said. The news agency cited a spokesman for the EU Economic and Monetary Affairs Commissioner Olli Rehn as saying that the EC will look into the plan and give its response on 29 May.

Prime Minister Alenka Bratusek expressed confidence that the proposed package would be sufficient to prevent Slovenia from being bailed out by the European Union (EU) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

In recession since 2011, Slovenia was expected by analysts to be most likely to need help from the EU after Cyprus, the BBC said.