Slovenské Elektráne cooperating with police

24 July 2014

Slovenské Elektráne's management and staff are "engaged in providing their full support" to police in an investigation into the privatization of the Slovak utility, its majority owner told World Nuclear News.

Media reports claimed police yesterday "raided" Bratislava-based Slovenské Elektráne, searching for documents dating from the period when the country sold the company to Enel. But a spokesman for the Italian utility said today that, rather than a raid, it was "an action to collect archive documentation from the privatization period." Slovak economy ministry spokeswoman Miriam Ziakova confirmed this to Slovak news agency SITA herself, the spokesman added.

"As disclosed by [Slovak] public authorities, the focus of the investigation relates to the facts occurring in the period prior to completion of the privatization of Slovenské Elektráne, namely, April 2006," the Enel spokesman, who asked not to be named, told WNN.

Enel owns 66% of Slovenské Elektráne, which is the Slovak Republic's biggest electricity producer, while the country's economy ministry owns 33%.

Asked whether Slovenské Elektráne had been given notice of the investigation, the spokesman said "there is a limit to what can be said when an investigation is ongoing."

Enel paid €840 million ($1.1 billion) for its stake in Slovenské Elektráne and, as part of the transaction, it agreed to complete construction of two additional reactors at the Mochovce nuclear power plant. Construction began on two further units at Mochovce in 1986 and resumed in 2008 after a 16-year hiatus. Mochovce 3 and 4 had been expected to start up in 2012-2013, but are currently not expected to start up until 2015.

Enel earlier this month launched a program to sell its holdings in Romania and Slovakia, including its stake in Slovenské Elektráne. Divestment of its Romanian and Slovakian assets is part of a €6 billion ($8 billion) asset sale begun by Enel in 2013 to reduce the group's financial debt.

SITA reported last November that the government intends to re-examine the sale of the stake in Slovenské Elektráne to Enel. Prime minister Robert Fico told reporters the government had reviewed a report titled Examination of Legal and Economic Relevance of the Way Slovenske Elektrarne were Privatized and Settlement of Property Relations to the Gabcikovo Hydropower Plant.

Fico became prime minister for the second time in April 2012, following the fall of Iveta Radičová's Slovak Democratic and Christian Union-Democratic Party-led coalition in October 2011 over a no-confidence vote her government lost because of its support for the European Financial Stability Fund. Fico's party, Direction-Social Democracy, won an absolute majority of seats.

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by World Nuclear News