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The Warsaw Voice » Other » November 18, 2009
Privatisation in Poland
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Helping Hand
November 18, 2009   
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Despite the global economic turbulence, Poland has been one of Europe's best investment locations for several years. Analysts see Poland as a stable country with a rapidly growing economy and one promising to be an attractive destination for investment in the future.

To help investors obtain information about privatisation procedures and companies undergoing privatisation, the Ministry of Treasury set up the Investor Relations Centre (IRC) in July. The centre is designed to help the government speed up work on carrying out its Privatisation Plan for 2008-2011. The main task of the centre, which operates as part of the Public Relations Office at the Ministry of Treasury, is to provide prospective investors with information about the ministry's privatisation offers.

IRC staff collect all the information investors may need in connection with individual privatisation processes. They also put investors in touch with ministry officials and privatisation advisers.

How to contact the CRI

Every investor interested in the privatisation of a specific company may contact the Investor Relations Centre. There are four ways of getting in touch. The investor may:
1. call the numbers given in a press announcement
2. send an e-mail to the following address: investor@msp.gov.pl
3. make an appointment and come in person
4. use the contact form available from the Ministry of Treasury's website: www.msp.gov.pl/en

Having received an inquiry, CRI staff contact a proper department and collect information about the planned privatisation procedure and schedule for the company in question. After all the information needed has been gathered, a CRI employee contacts the investor by phone or e-mail and provides an answer to the inquiry.

If the investor has any additional questions, they are given the e-mail address and phone number of the person responsible for the privatisation process they are interested in so as to contact the person directly.

Online information about privatization

Profiles of companies intended for privatisation are published on the Ministry of Treasury's website.

Each profile contains basic information about the company's core business, its financial results and the planned privatisation procedure and time.

The profiles may be browsed by sectors, company names, names of company presidents and provinces.

At present, there are around 200 profiles in the database. The database is updated on an ongoing basis. New profiles are added to it together with privatisation announcements that appear on the Ministry of Treasury's website. Additionally, the service provides information about the Polish economy.

Investors who want to invest in Poland can also take part in meetings with top Ministry of Treasury officials. So far the ministry has organized meetings with investors from Persian Gulf countries, Japan and Singapore. Minister Grad has also met with executives from the largest investment fund companies in London and brokerages operating in Poland.

In order to ensure openness and transparency, a privatisation file is kept for every company where a privatisation process has begun. The file contains basic information on the privatised company and individual stages of the privatisation process.

Privatisation paths

Privatisation may be either direct or indirect. Indirect privatisation means selling Treasury-owned shares through:
- publicly announced offer,
- public tender,
- negotiations undertaken on the basis of a public invitation,
- acceptance of an offer in response to a call,
- publicly announced auction,
- sale on the regulated market.
It is possible to sell Treasury-owned shares in a different way if the government permits a non-public procedure.

Direct privatisation means disposing of all tangible and intangible assets of a state-owned enterprise by:
- selling the enterprise,
- contributing the enterprise to a new company,
- transferring the enterprise for paid use.

Indirect privatisation procedures

Privatisation may have a direct or indirect form. The form of privatisation is determined by the law on commercialization and privatisation of state-owned enterprises. Companies included in the Privatisation Plan are privatised indirectly. Direct privatisation is conducted by province governors. Not many enterprises can still be privatised in this way.

Publicly announced offer

A publicly announced offer should contain the most important provisions of the contract to sell the shares without the need for the parties to conduct long negotiations.

Public tender
In a public invitation to tender, the minister of Treasury specifies the number and type of shares subject to the tender procedure, the minimum price, requirements concerning investment and employment commitments, the amount of the deposit, the date, place and form in which the deposit should be paid, the way in which bids should be submitted and the range of information companies interested in the public tender should provide.

The bids submitted by the companies are opened in a public process by a tender commission appointed by the minister of Treasury. Then, in a non-public process, the commission evaluates the submitted bids and chooses the best one or does not make any choice and withdraws from the tender.

Negotiations undertaken on the basis of a public invitation
This privatisation path is used for medium-sized and large firms. The sale of shares is negotiated with a strategic investor. The negotiations concern the price and conditions of the sale. They are not open, unlike in the case of the public invitation to negotiations announced by the minister of Treasury. After the negotiations have been completed, the prospective investor proposes binding conditions of the contract in writing. The seller is obligated to notify all investors admitted to negotiations if one of them has been given a time limit to conduct exclusive negotiations with the ministry and if a contract to sell the shares has been signed.

Response to a call
The minister of Treasury, acting on behalf of the State Treasury, sells shares in public companies in response to a bid announced under the law on public offerings, the conditions of introducing financial instruments into the organized trading system and on public companies. Only shares in companies listed on the stock exchange may be sold in this way.

Publicly announced auction
The minister of Treasury invites prospective investors to take part in an auction by publishing announcements in a national daily newspaper. The auction may be held if the asked price is not lower than the book value of the shares.

Investors who want to take part in the auction should register by sending a written application. The investor should enclose a document proving that the deposit has been paid. The amount of the deposit may range from 1 to 10 percent of the asked price. The minister of Treasury appoints a commission responsible for conducting the auction. The minimum value of the bid is also specified. The auction is closed after the highest bid has been called out three times.

Sale of shares on the regulated market
One of the possible privatisation methods is the sale of shares that have been admitted to trading on the regulated market. The regulated securities market is the most prestigious segment of the market where securities may be bought and sold by both individual and institutional investors. This is the market where organizations have the opportunity to raise funds for carrying out their investment plans, find a core investor, and raise their profile among customers and business partners.

The Ministry of Treasury has expanded its website to include an investor service available in two language versions, Polish and English.

The service, apart from up-to-date privatisation announcements and descriptions of privatisation procedures, provides basic information about the Privatisation Plan for 2008-2011.

www.msp.gov.pl/en

Contact
Those interested in receiving information about privatization processes handled by the Ministry of Treasury should contact the Investor Relations Centre located on the ground floor of the Ministry of Treasury's building in Warsaw, at the corner of Wspólna and Krucza streets. The centre works on weekdays from 8:15 a.m. to 4:15 p.m.

tel. +48 22 695-90-01,
+48 22 695-90-02
fax +48 22 629-98-38
e-mail: inwestor@msp.gov.pl

Ministry of Treasury
Krucza 26 /Wspólna 6, 00-522 Warsaw
tel. (main switchboard) 22 695-80-00, 22 695-90-00, fax: (main switchboard) 22 628-08-72, 621-33-61
investor@msp.gov.pl
www.msp.gov.pl/en
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