Government allowed to block ownership changes in 18 energy and industrial companies
Parliament passed legislation giving the Economy Minister the right to ask the government to block ownership changes in 18 energy and industrial companies if the new investor poses a threat to national security or public order. Investors will be allowed to challenge a potential acquisition ban in court. Sixteen EU countries have similar legislation. This should prevent Russian influence in Slovenské elektrárne (SE). Russia’s Sberbank demanded SE shareholders back its loan to SE with their SE shares. Once the legislation was submitted, the Russian bank withdrew the request. EPH (Daniel Křetínský), which has stakes in five of the companies, is the most vocal critic of the bill. It argues banks are nervous, as the bill weakens their liens. It also limits ownership rights and was passed without any discussion with business.Minister Richard Sulík will prepare a new Act on Reviewing Foreign Investments that will comply with the relevant EU rules.