Poland presses on with privatization
Unlike its regional neighbours, Poland is in the fortunate position of still having a large portfolio of state assets to sell to boost its public finances. This year’s target from privatization sales is Z10 billion ($3.1 billion), with a further Z5 billion earmarked for next year.
Pawel Tamborski, undersecretary of state at the treasury ministry, stresses however that revenue is not the primary aim of the process. "My duty is to get the best conditions for the state, but privatization is not just about maximizing price, there’s also an element of transformation," he says. "As the state we don’t see ourselves as the best shareholder for these companies."
Nevertheless, the Polish government does plan to retain controlling stakes in national champions such as energy company PGE, another 7% of which was sold in an accelerated bookbuild in February that raised Z2.5 billion – Tamborski’s first public deal since taking over from previous privatization minister Chris Walenczak.
Also on the list of key companies are PKO BP, Poland’s largest bank, and insurer PZU, secondary listings of both of which are widely expected in the near future. "The word overhang is the one I hear most often," says Tamborski, ruefully.