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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Slovakia Delays Sale of SPP

BRATISLAVA, Slovakia -- Slovakia's Cabinet delayed a decision Wednesday on whether to approve the sale of 49 percent and management control in state gas monopoly SPP for $2.7 billion, the state's adviser on the sale said.

Last week, a state panel recommended the government should sell the stake to a consortium of Gazprom, Gaz de France and Germany's Ruhrgas, which were the sole bidders in Slovakia's largest privatization tender ever.

The Cabinet had been widely expected to approve the bid at its regular Wednesday meeting, but Credit Suisse First Boston director Michal Susak, the government's adviser on the sale, said it had postponed the expected vote.

"Today [the sale] will not be discussed. It will probably be discussed at an extraordinary session of the government tomorrow," Susak told journalists. "That was the impression I received."

Susak, who had been present at the Cabinet meeting, said the delay should not hurt eventual conclusion of the sale. Members of the Cabinet were not immediately available for comment.

SPP moves 90 billion cubic meters of Russian gas to the West each year, or about 70 percent of Russian gas used in Western Europe, and it distributes to some 1.3 million customers.

The consortium's single bid was at first a bit of a disappointment for observers, who had expected more interest in one of the region's largest selloffs of state assets, particularly after heavy competition last year in SPP's Czech counterpart Transgas, which eventually went to Germany's RWE for $3.6 billion.

Susak did not specify why the debate on the deal had been delayed.