Sunday’s elections will not only be about choosing a new president. The good, the bad and the ugly will also have us vote on a referendum concerning privatisation of Triglav Insurance company, which is at the moment state owned: a good 66 % of it are owned by KAD and SOD managed – but not owned.
HQ of Triglav Insurance
Triglav Insurance Company was namely another socialist/self-management attempt at reaching past capitalist concept. It was basically a mutual insurance company, with insurees becoming owners as well. Uppon the dissolution of (and disisllusionment with) socialism, Triglav became a typical incorporated-but-government-owned company, so typical for transitional economies. But there was a catch. Noone really knew how much the company was actually worth, because noone exactly knew how much money people have put into the company in the past fourty years.
So, when privatisation began after 1990, it soon became clear that a) Triglav is a goldmine and b) the topic of its value is as explosive as a truckload of
natrium soduim near a hydro-power plant. So no government wanted to touch it until it was absolutely necesary. This burden thus fell on the former government of Tone Rop, who (curiously enough) began his carrer in top governmental ranks as state secretary (underminister) in charge of privatisation. So he knew exactly that all hell will break loose eventually. And so it did. His government prepared what was then considered a half-baked attempt at privatising a portion of Triglav, but they did it so late in the game (it was just prior to elections) that noone took it seriously. Most of us even though that they’re just trying to stuff their pockets just in case they lose the elections. Which they did. Lose the 2004 elections.
The plan called for actuall transfer of government owned portion of Triglav to KAD and SOD (which until now only managed but did not own this share), the idea being that the dividends would be used to keep the pension system solvent.
The new government immediately pulled out of the plan, saying that it needed to reevaluate Triglav’s value. And sure enough, they came up with a more than double the value. The mathematics of both calculations are somewhat fuzzy, though. Anyways. The incumbent government basically came up with the exact same plan, but what it failed to include was a provision forbidding KAD and SOD to sell Triglav on.
The government obviously says that it has no intention of selling Triglav, but history teaches that if something can be done, it will be done. And selling the biggest insurance company is not a smart idea.
EDIT: Just so that there’s no misunderstanding – I don’t have a problem with KAD and SOD owning Triglav. I do, however, have a problem with selling family jewels. There is more than enough competition in the market and I strongly support the idea that Triglav’s profits should be partly used to finance the pension system. And I’m not sure that the previous government didn’t want to sell Triglav, either.