The Estonian government has endorsed the principles according to which the state will govern its holdings in companies with a state holding as well as in the development of relevant legislation.
"Defining the principles of shareholding policy is necessary for the well-considered governance of holdings in companies with a state holding as well as for the sustainable and efficient management of these companies," Minister of Finance Martin Helme (EKRE) said in a press release on Wednesday.
The state's general approach is only to have a holding in those companies where it is necessary in accordance with a goal arising from public interest or due to some other strategic consideration. The earning of revenue through its business holdings is not a goal in its own right for the state, but rather an additional goal incidental to acting in the public interest.
In the future, the state's holdings policy will be updated on a regular basis, at least once every five years.
The principles approved Thursday also provide for the implementation of owner expectations including strategic, sectoral and financial goals on companies with a state holding. These owner expectations are to be updated on a regular basis, once every three years, in the course of which the need to continue to maintain a state holding in the business will be reviewed, among other things.
In order to avoid the risk of state aid or the undermining of the competitive situation, one important principle to be set out is the comparability of financial targets set for businesses with a state holding with the typical financial targets of a private investor.
The Estonian state has holdings in 29 businesses, including 24 businesses of which it is the sole owner and majority ownership of four businesses. Companies with a state holding have a combined over €7 billion in assets and employ a total of 13,400 people. Revenue of companies with a state holding totaled €1.8 billion in 2018.
Editor: Aili Vahtla