State considering privatizing its companies and selling stakes

Operail freight trains.
Operail freight trains. Source: Matthias Rikka/Operail

Following the listing of Enefit Green on the Tallinn Stock Exchange two weeks ago, the state is planning to transfer its majority stake in rail operator Operail at the beginning of next year. Next is technical service provider Teede Tehnokeskus and the state will consider developing a grid company based on Elering and Elektrilevi, which could also be listed.

Railway transport company Operail, which was separated from the Eesti Raudtee group, is currently completely owned by the state. "At the moment, the final preparations, final audits are being conducted and then the privatization process will begin," said Minister of Economic Affairs and Infrastructure Taavi Aas (Center).

Aas hopes the deal could be signed in the first quarter of next year. "A part not related to freight transport in Estonia will be transferred from Operail - a wagon rental business, which Operail conducts in Finland," the minister explained.

The company intends to transfer 51 percent of its wagon rental business next year and find a new owner for 41 percent of the company in 2023.

100 percent of Teede Tehnokeskus will be transferred and the government will soon give its final proposal on the topic, the minister added.

The state should receive some €30 million from the sale of Operail and up to €5 million from selling Teede Tehnokeskus. The government is currently analyzing, which companies should the state drop its stake from and which companies should be left to state ownership.

"Those related to transport should be kept before all because the state supports a lot in the transport sector, where there is no free market competition. When it comes to energy, it must be very deeply considered before anything is privatized," Aas said.

Minister of Finance Keit Pentus-Rosimannus (Reform) said the government has given a task to analyze all 26 state-owned companies. "We will certainly take this analysis to government in the first quarter of next year. How it is most reasonable to move forward with distribution networks, is there a possibility to list companies after a small restructuring," the finance minister said.

The analysis will also show if it is possible to create a new company based on the main network of Elering and the distribution network of Elektrilevi. "Are there overlaps that could be managed together in terms of efficiency ja how much would this give us a chance to list [the company]," Pentus-Rosimannus added.

The state has successfully listed Port of Tallinn, of which the state currently holds 67 percent of.

"When the first stage is completed and it has been successful, we must consider if and in what capacity are we able to move forward. I think there will certainly be more in the future," the finance minister said.


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Editor: Kristjan Kallaste

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