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Government goes ahead with plan to split Eesti Energia into three companies

Eesti Energia.
Eesti Energia. Source: Ken Mürk/ERR

The government plans to split Eesti Energia into three firms, with both Elektrilevi and Enefit Green offered on the stock exchange, according to Finance Minister Mart Võrklaev (Reform). A separate oil shale firm is no longer supported by the minister. Critics say separating the group is pointless.

Elektrilevi and oil shale mining should be split from Eesti Energia, according the coalition agreement. However, Eesti Energia supervisory board chairman Anne Mere told Vikerrado that the company must remain large and strong because all our neighbors have state-owned enterprises.

"They're all big and strong, and none are showing signs of slowing down or wanting to focus on just one small area. I believe Eesti Energia, as a powerful group, better represents Estonian interests," Mere said.

Finance Minister Mart Võrklaev (Reform), said that the coalition deal will proceed. A privatization plan has been submitted to the government cabinet, according to which Elektrilevi and an additional part of Enefit Green will be offered on the stock exchange.

"Whether to sell or not to sell or to go public, that is the subject of discussion in the government cabinet. I have put forward a proposal to go public in part," Võrklaev said.

The purpose of forming an oil shale firm would have been to provide a level playing field for all mining sectors competing for raw materials.

"With this issue settled, it is doubtful whether this separation makes sense. Economically, it will pose certain dangers to Eesti Energia, which we will need to examine again in government. My basic feeling right now is that there is no need to do anything because the problem has already been solved in another way," he said.

Alar Konist, an energy expert, thinks it's difficult to fully understand what the state is trying to accomplish by splitting up a major corporation.

"Will it improve the services and goods provided by our company? Will this make network charges more affordable for our customers? Will it ensure our energy security? The larger the group, the easier it is for the company to obtain a loan, the easier it is for the company to finance various initiatives, and if a crisis scenario emerges, it is possible to locate more funds within the company and improve the situation," Konist said.

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Editor: Kristina Kersa

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