Poland takes step toward selling stakes in 4 companies

WARSAW Thu Dec 27, 2012 11:38pm IST

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WARSAW (Reuters) - Poland's government approved a motion on Thursday to move small stakes in four state-controlled companies to a special fund as a step toward selling them in order to fund infrastructure projects.

The decision includes an 11.4 percent stake in top Polish utility PGE (PGE.WA), 8.4 percent of top lender PKO PKO.WA, 10.1 percent of top insurer PZU PZU.WA and 38 percent of chemical group Ciech CIEP.WA.

Based on the companies' average share prices over the past six months, all four stakes combined are worth around 11 billion zlotys ($3.6 billion), a ministry official said.

In October, Prime Minister Donald Tusk said Poland would create a special investment vehicle, which along with state-owned BGK bank would be capitalized with proceeds from the sale of state-owned assets.

"We are planning to boost capital in both companies (investment vehicle and the state-owned BGK bank) gradually, depending on their needs," Treasury Minister Mikolaj Budzanowski said in Thursday's statement.

The programme, called "Polish Investments", will amount to 40 billion zlotys in total and is designed to revive the country's economic growth through funding big infrastructure investments and keep fiscal deficits in check at the same time.

Poland has been the only European Union member to avoid recession since the post-Lehman crisis in 2008, but its economy has started to slow sharply, hit by fiscal cuts and an ongoing crisis in the euro zone, the country's main trade partner. ($1 = 3.0765 Polish zlotys)

(Reporting by Dagmara Leszkowicz; editing by Jane Baird)

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