Serbia: Power utility co EPS prepares to become joint-stock company

18. April 2014. / News Serbia Energy

In order to support the interests of shareholders in future Shareholders Assembly of EPS, the Association of Shareholders should gather at least 10 percent of the shareholders.

Future shareholders of EPS do not want for public enterprise “Electric Power Industry of Serbia” to become EPS jsc before they are ready to protect their interests in future Shareholders Assembly of EPS. Upon the news that PE EPS will change its legal form to jsc, as soon as during this spring, the Association of Shareholders (AS)  again raised the question of its organization in EPS companies and other public enterprizes whose pensioners can be the members of Association of Shareholders.

Radomir Marković, the chairman of the Association of Shareholders of EPS, says that the shareholders are about to join the association in order to meet the legal requirement that AS should gather at least ten percent of the shareholders in order to represent their interests. That is why the shareholders of EPS, EMS, PEU and Kosmet companies of EPS have been invited to join the Association of Shareholders.

In fact, according to Marković, the first step is going to be the activation of executive boards, as organization parts of AS which should operate within the base, that is primarily within the companies of EPS. A certain number of executive boards was chosen right after the foundation of AS, but most of them, when it comes to activities, did not move from the start. The preparations for taking part in the Association of Shareholders of EPS should stimulate all the executive boards to start the activities and to formally file and gather their members. However, the help “from above” i.e. from the AS Assembly will also be necessary.

– Through the media, AS managed to significantly affirm the shareholder ship and explain the goals of the association. It is true that all of that was quite blurry and that we still haven’t gathered most of the potential members. I believe that things will change for the better as the day of foundation of Shareholders Assembly of EPS approaches. I expect that at least a small number of shareholders wants to become a member of the Association in order to contribute to the protection of shareholders’ interests, through their own personal engagement – Marković says.

He states that AS from the beginning of its work had intention to unite the operation of union and pension organizations, the members of which will get the EPS shares. For that purpose, the text of the agreement was also prepared, but it hasn’t been signed yet. The same happens with the initiative for founding the investment fund of EPS from the capital which the shareholders will have upon the receipt of free shares of EPS. “Each of the two things will soon earn our undivided attention”, Marković considers.

He says that the strength of shareholders comes from the fact that in the future Shareholders Assembly of EPS, the shareholders will hold 23 percent of the capacity of “Electric Power Industry of Serbia”. The calculation is made based on the fact that the citizens of Serbia should get 15 percent of the shares, while 15 percent will go to the employees and former employees of EPS. In case that the request of the Association of Shareholders that every employee and former employee of EPS instead of 200 EUR per year of working experience gets 15 and not eight percent of total capital (and such suggestion was sent to National Assembly of the Republic of Serbia) gets accepted, then the shareholders’ part in decision-making in the future Shareholders Assembly of EPS would be significantly bigger. To be more precise, the shareholders would dispose of 30 percent of shares and their influence in decision making would be proportional to that.

– In order to prevent wasting of shares on personal consumption, which happened with a large number of our citizens when they got the shares from other public enterprizes, our Association suggested the foundation of development investment fund, which would mean the gain for shareholders and EPS as well. Shareholders would preserve their ownership over shares, they would receive the dividend, and then again they would be able to sell them at the stock market whenever they want to. At the same time, EPS would be able to use the means from the fund investing them and in that way raising the value of basic capital, which would be more cost-effective than taking the loans from the banks – Marković explains.

Our interlocutor considers that AS can gather not only the employees and former employees of EPS, but the other shareholders who will dispose of the shares of EPS as well. He says that such future is pretty far away, but he believes that the good practice among the EPS people would make the Association an example for the others. Meanwhile, he does not exclude the services of brokerage firms and so-called consulting institutes, which this Association will need at least for the first brokerage activities. Marković also reminds that the value of shareholders’ capital depends on the assessment of the value of EPS capital which has to be done before the shares of EPS enter the stock market.

Anyhow, the first question now is: Will the employees and former employees of EPS welcome the first Assembly of Shareholders meeting separately or together?

Source; Serbia Energy

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