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Talks on selling Malév to strategic investor 'going well', says minister

Talks with a strategic investor to sell Hungary's national carrier Malév are going well, National Development Minister Tamás Fellegi told a committee meeting on Tuesday, without identifying the investor.

Fellegi said there are still a number of economic and legal questions of debate with the Russia's Vnesheconombank, which has a minority stake in Malév through AirBridge Zrt.

Troubled Malév was renationalized in March 2010, but Russia's state-owned Vnesheconombank still holds 5% of the airline's parent company.

One important point has been made clear at the talks with the Russians: they do not wish to take part in Malév’s future, Fellegi said. A financial settlement must be made, but its size and legal grounds are still a matter of dispute for the Hungarians, he added.

Fellegi acknowledged the procedure against Hungary by the European Union for illegal state aid for Malév. The problem has to be managed, but it is hoped that the matter will be solved successfully, he added.

Fellegi also said a document on directives or the management of state assets will come before the cabinet before the summer break and will be submitted to Parliament in September at the latest.

An inventory of all state assets will also be drawn up before the end of this year, he said.

A proposal on restructuring Hungary’s public transportation could also come before the cabinet before the summer break and Parliament could vote on bills related to the plan in the autumn, Fellegi said.

The plan aims to separate the tasks of the state and business considerations, to make the companies sustainable, to ensure the provision of quality services for travellers, and to establish clear areas of responsibility for management, he added.