The new government will not let the government’s stake in Bpost (51 percent) and Proximus (53.5 percent) expire. This was heard from the cabinet of the responsible minister, Petra De Sutter (Groen).
In its policy statement, De Sutter said that the importance of “continued public participation” in the two companies has become “all the more evident” in the corona crisis. “In this way, we as the government are helping to ensure the quality of service in these essential social sectors and in every corner of the country without affecting efficient business operations,” she said.
When asked whether this means that the holdings of this legislature will not expire, the minister’s spokeswoman replied in the affirmative. However, the Michel government opened the door to it in 2015. The government’s legal obligation to hold a majority stake in Proximus and Bpost has been removed.
The then Open VLD Minister Philippe De Backer pleaded last year for a reduction in government interest in Proximus in the coming years. “A government rules a country, not a company,” he said.
The stakes in Proximus and Bpost offer the government a fair amount of annual dividends. In the last few years more than 271 million euros flowed from Proximus into the state treasury. Bpost received € 133.7 million, but that company has canceled paying its final dividend for fiscal 2019 due to the corona crisis.