No sell-offs planned in Estonia

  • 2003-04-03

Estonia's new governing coalition of the People's Union, the Reform Party and Res Publica is not planning to privatize any strategic companies.

According to several party members, the coalition is not planning the sell-off of Tallinna Sadam (Port of Tallinn), Eesti Energia (Estonian Energy) and Eesti Polevkivi (Estonian Oil Shale), although privatization of certain shares was under consideration during coalition talks.

For instance, the coalition didn't agree on what to do with the state's minority holding in Eesti Telekom (Estonian Telecom), one of the Baltic states' most capitalized companies.

Although the coalition agreement does not reflect a demand on the part of the People's Union to ban the sale of strategic corporations, it was agreed between Reform Party Deputy Chairman Meelis Atonen and People's Union Chairman Villu Reiljan that these companies would not be put on the block.

Reiljan said that participants at the coalition talks wanted to "weld" the sale of 10 percent holdings into the agreement, but it was finally decided that there would not be any sale.

Atonon admitted that sale of some state-owned stakes was considered in drafts of the agreement, but the People's Union was dead-set against it.

Atonen added that the sale of the state's holding in Eesti Telekom would depend upon market conditions, while Villu Reiljan said that the People's Union had no objections to selling the state's holding in Eesti Telekom.