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On 23 November, the Federal Council took the decision to draw up a paper on the Confederation's full withdrawal from Swisscom. In addition, in its function as majority shareholder it decided to issue instructions to Swisscom concerning policy on disbursement and foreign investment. These state that Swisscom's free equity capital should be distributed amongst its shareholders and that Swisscom should forego any involvement in a foreign telecommunications company. The Confederation's representative on Swisscom's board of directors was notified of these instructions by the head of the Federal Department of Finance FDF and the Federal Department of the Environment, Transport, Energy and Communications (DETEC) on 24 November.
On 29 November, the heads of DETEC and the FDF held a meeting with a delegation from Swisscom's board of directors at which the Chairman of the Board provided information on the board's resolutions. The board of directors did not wish to debate the instructions of the Confederation's representative on the grounds that they contradict the Federal Council's current strategic goals for Swisscom. The instructions represent too much of an encroachment on the board's authority and need to be justified in greater detail.
The Federal Council will draw up the strategic goals for 2006-2009 in accordance with the recent decisions of principle, in particular with regard to two points; namely financial aims and cooperation and participations. It will discuss a corresponding proposal at its meeting on 21 December. Until the definitive adoption of the strategic goals, the applicable interpretation of the overseas strategy is that the company will not be entitled to acquire stakes in overseas telecommunications companies with a public service function (fixed network and/or mobile network). Against this backdrop the board of directors has given assurances that no decisions concerning Swisscom's involvement in a foreign telecommunications company with a public service function would be taken before the entry into force of the 2006-2009 strategic goals.
Detailed information on the proposed privatisation process and on future cooperation between the majority shareholder and Swisscom in terms of the Telecommunications Enterprise Act will also be published within the scope of the draft consultation paper. This will be addressed by the Federal Council by the end of January 2006 at the latest.
Federal Department of the Environment,Transport, Energy and Communications (DETEC)
Federal Department of Finance FDF
Note: In the first § after the lead, the sentence "in the form of dividends” has been removed.