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LJUBLJANA (Reuters) - Slovenia's finance ministry said on Thursday it expects to submit a privatisation plan to the government in the second week of May to help the country to avoid needing an international bailout.
The news contradicted a statement by Prime Minister Alenka Bratusek that a privatisation plan would be revealed as early as this week, which could add to investor frustration over the slow pace of developments and lack of details.
Local media reports have speculated that the government could sell its stakes in telecommunications operator Telekom, fuel retailer Petrol and bank Nova KBM, which all have majority or large market shares in the country.
"The proposals for the privatisation of companies will probably be sent to the government in the week starting May 6," finance ministry spokeswoman Irena Ferkulj told Reuters.
The privatisation scheme is seen as a way to boost state revenues and investor confidence and enable Slovenia to avoid having to follow Cyprus and other euro zone members that have required international bailouts.
Bratusek said two weeks ago that first privatisation proposals will be sent to parliament by the end of April but the government's draft reform programme, sent to parliament this week, mentioned no names although it cited privatisation as a tool to boost public finances.
"The goal of the sell-off of non-strategic state assets will be mostly to reach the highest financial income possible and with that a positive effect on public finances," the government said in the programme.
Bratusek also said earlier in April the government hopes one state bank will be among companies that will be offered for sale.
Slovenian banks, mostly state-owned, are nursing some 7 billion euros of bad loans which equals 20 percent of GDP and are at the heart of speculation that the country might need an international bailout later this year.
(Reporting By Marja Novak; editing by; Stephen Nisbet)