Search form

menu menu
  • Daily & Weekly newsletters
  • Buy & download The Bulletin
  • Comment on our articles

De Croo tables proposal to privatise Proximus and Bpost

11:18 08/05/2015

Alexander De Croo, federal minister for telecommunications and the post, is tabling a proposal today for the government to sell off its stakes in both postal service Bpost and the telecoms operator Proximus.

Under current legislation, the Belgian government is required to retain a 50% share in each company, along with a nominal share. But De Croo wants the companies to be able to appoint board members without political interference and set salaries without the approval of the government. Even if a sell-off happens, the companies would still have to ensure that the board contains an equal number of French and Dutch speakers.

Proximus is the largest of Belgium’s telecoms operators, with about 40% of market share. The sale of Proximus (formerly Belgacom) could open the way for a merger with the Dutch operator KPN, which has been under discussion for 15 years.

The civil service trade union ACOD has protested at the plan, which it says is “an incomprehensible strategy that creates only losers: the Belgian state, the employees and the citizens”.

“Both state concerns are performing well, generating profits and providing citizens with a public service at a very reasonable price,” said a union spokesperson. “The privatisation plans are purely commercial decisions, made without any consideration of the importance of the two companies.”

The sale of the two companies could yield €9 billion for the government, according to economic experts.

Written by Derek Blyth

Comments

Anon2

Why would the government ever privatise Belgacom, its golden goose? It has the entire internet/telecom market in a stranglehold and has successfully forced viable (foreign) competitors to sell out or stop offering fixed internet services. Free market competition is not a priority in Belgium. Au contraire..... No country has fewer ISP and Belgacom is working hard at getting rid of or taking over all of them. Plus it's a great job provider for friends and family of those well-connected and/or in high places.

May 8, 2015 14:19
Mikek1300gt

Sooooo many vested interests will not like this idea one bit!

May 10, 2015 17:43