September 7, 2019 / 1:16 PM / a month ago

Partial listing could help Hungary power firm MVM -minister

BUDAPEST, Sept 7 (Reuters) - Hungary’s state-owned power group MVM needs to expand in central Europe and possibly list some of its shares on the stock market to boost its weight in the European energy sector, the minister in charge of state assets said on Saturday.

“At major European companies, both free float and direct state ownership are present,” Andrea Bartfai-Mager told a meeting of Hungarian economists.

“If we take into account which companies have managed to grow or boost their profitability successfully in the recent past, we can see that regional expansion and a partial stock market presence can represent keys to progress.”

Bartfai-Mager did not elaborate on the potential size or timing of any such transaction.

She said her review of state assets had identified 60 to 100 companies deemed to be strategically important. She said businesses deemed non-strategic would be sold, without elaborating.

MVM was Hungary’s third-largest company in 2017 with revenue of 1.33 trillion forints ($4.45 billion).

It controls the Paks nuclear power plant and power grid operator MAVIR and is also active in natural gas trade and storage. The company employed over 9,000 people in 2017, the latest figures on its website show.

MVM is already present in a number of foreign markets, including Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, France, and Poland, its website shows.

Bartfai-Mager oversees a wide array of state companies, such as asset manager MNV, development bank MFB, Hungarian Post, railway company MAV, coach operator Volan and public utilities.

She said companies remaining in state hands had to boost efficiency to be more competitive, adding that Budapest did not plan to list any more companies or stakes on the stock market.

$1 = 299.07 forints Reporting by Gergely Szakacs; editing by Jason Neely

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