ATO Calls to Solve Deadlock in Network Interconnection Talks
26. júla 2004

Monday, July 19

The Association of Telecommunications Operators (ATO) has publicly appealed to dominant fixed line operator Slovak Telecom and alternative operators to negotiate on their network interconnection. The negotiation should take place at the telecommunications market regulator the Telecommunications Office (TU), reads the ATO statement presented to SITA on Monday by ATO chairman Vladimir Ondrovic. “At the moment they are all squabbling, insulting each other through the media and not wanting to solve the real situation,” he said, describing the situation on the market.

Banks in Slovakia Provided SKK 6.175 Bln. in Mortgages in H1 2004

Ten banking houses in Slovakia with a mortgage lending license approved more than 7,000 mortgages worth SKK 6.175 billion over the first half of 2004. Thus the banks have provided SKK 42.173 billion in mortgages since the beginning of mortgage lending in Slovakia in 1997 up to the end of June of this year. Banks made 53,731 contracts with clients.

J&T Finance Group Netted SKK 71.2 Mln. Last Year

J&T Finance Group, a.s., netted SKK 71.2 million last year. Compared with the previous year this means an improvement from a loss of SKK 29.8 million. In 2003 financial operations brought it a profit of SKK 142.7 million, when it reported an operating loss of SKK 48.6 million. Sales of J&T Finance Group from the sale of securities and shares equaled SKK 298.1 million. According to the published results, gains from exchange rate differences climbed to SKK 145.3 million when losses in this segment amounted to only SKK 17.8 million.

Club 500 wants to Publish Contracts with Energy Distributors and SPP

Club 500, an association uniting company owners with over 500 employees, is demanding the publication of investment contracts between the government and carmakers Peugeot/PSA and Kia/Hyundai. Club 500 also requests that the government publishes contracts, including secret annexes, pertaining to the privatization of Slovak gas utility SPP and energy distributing companies. According to Club 500 executive director Tibor Gregor, citizens have a right to be informed as these companies increase the prices of their services in a non-transparent manner.

BCPB Canceled Trading with Securities of 32 Issuers over H1

Bratislava Stock Exchange (BCPB) terminated trading with securities of 32 issuers over the first half of this year, which is less than during the first half of 2003. “Last year a significantly higher number of issues left the trading mainly because of the failure to meet the disclosure duty. This year the reason was in most cases the decision of shareholders to withdraw their shares from public trading”, BCPB General Director Maria Hurajova informed SITA on Monday.

Tuesday, July 20

Prices in June Up 0.2 Percent According to EU Methodology

Monthly inflation in June in the Slovak Republic was 0.2 percent according to the harmonized index of consumer prices. Consumer prices in Slovakia in June grew 8.1 percent year-on-year according to methodology of the European Union, Statistics Office reported.

Trading with Duslo Sala Shares Ends on Bratislava Stock Exchange

Bratislava Stock Exchange (BCPB) ended trading with shares of chemical producer Duslo Sala., a.s. on Tuesday, July 20. Finance director of the company Rudolf Malnasi confirmed to SITA news agency that shareholders decided at their general meeting on June 28 of this year to withdraw the shares from trading on the stock exchange. „There was virtually no trading in the shares,“ said Mr. Malnasi.

PSS Provided SKK 7.48 Bln. in Housing Support in Six Months of 2004

Housing construction savings bank Prva Stavebna Sporitelna, a.s. (PSS) provided SKK 7.48 billion in housing support in six months of this year. The aggregate volume of housing support since 1993 thus reached SKK 99.31 billion. Of this, clients spent SKK 50.4 on reconstruction, while SKK 27.79 was for acquisition of existing apartments and houses, and SKK 19.34 billion for new housing construction.

Market Watchdog Orders Sl. Telecom and GTS to Interconnect Networks

Telecommunications office (TU), as a market regulatory body, ordered dominant fixed line provider Slovak Telecom, a.s., and alternative operator GTS Slovakia, s.r.o., to interconnect their networks. Network interconnection should enable customers of GTS to reach customers of Slovak Telecom, which would lead to beginning of effective competition on the market. However, the decision, issued on July 19, has not yet become effective and both involved parties may appeal it within fifteen days, spokesman for the Telecommunications office Roman Vavro informed SITA on Tuesday.

H1 Sales of Izomat Insulating Material Producer Grew 30 Pct. Y/Y

Izomat Nova Bana, producer of mineral fiber thermal insulation materials for the construction industry, reported sales for the first six months of this year of SKK 682.2 million, which means a 30 percent growth when compared with the same period of the previous year. The company exceeded the H1 sales plan by 19 percent, Izomat Sales Director Rudolf Slezak informed SITA on Tuesday. Of the company sales over the monitored period 71 percent came from export to 21 countries worldwide, he added.

FinMin: Food Prices Did Not Increase Significantly After EU Entry

The latest data from the Slovak Statistics Office on consumer price development on the basis of the European harmonized index ruled out statements that prices of most foods increased after Slovakia’s accession to the European Union. “According to EU methodology, consumer prices increased by about 0.5 percent in total in May and June in spite of an increase in prices of some specific foods,” said the finance minister’s economic aide Martin Bruncko. According to him prices of other foods, for example eggs, decreased after EU entry.

EU Contributes EUR 397.1 Million to Slovak Rural Development

The European Union’s Committee for Agriculture Structures (STAR) has approved on Tuesday in Brussels the Rural Development Plan for Slovakia, according to which the EU will contribute EUR 397.1 million to finance rural development projects in Slovakia over the 2004-2006 period. A supplementary EUR 164.7 million will be funded from Slovak public and private sources, press secretary to the European Commission Representation Branislav Slysko informed SITA.

EBRD: Slovakia Enjoys One of Strongest Central European Economies

According to the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) the Slovak Republic has undertaken bold tax, labor and pension reforms and enjoys one of the strongest economies in Central Europe. Yet the country still faces a number of challenges, including the reduction of regional imbalances, health and education reform, completion of privatization, law enforcement and the effective use of EU funds, says EBRD.

Beer Exports Rose 36 Percent to 86,000 Hectoliters in H1 2004

Exports of beer from Slovakia were boosted by 36 percent to 86,000 hectoliters over the first half of the year compared with the previous year’s period. Executive director of the Slovak Association of Beer and Malt Producers Roman Sustak reported about this development on Tuesday.

Credit Suisse Life&Pensions Asks for Pension Fund Management License

Financial group Credit Suisse Life & Pensions (CSLP) has officially declared interest in operating a pension fund management company within the capitalization pension pillar of the pensions system. On Tuesday the group filed an application to the Financial Market Office (UFT) for a license to found and run a pension fund management company. Eva Holikova from the company’s marketing and communications department reported this development.

Wednesday, July 21

SCA Hygiene Products Posts H1 Sales of SKK 1.84 Billion

Sales of SCA Hygiene Products, s.r.o., Gemerska Horka, reached SKK 1.84 billion for the first six months of this year, up SKK 14 million y/y. The H1 profit was SKK 150 million, company’s financial director Anna Balazova reported on Wednesday.

Banske Stavby Construction Firm with SKK 500 Mln. Sales in H1

Construction firm Banske Stavby, a.s., Prievidza reported sales of SKK 500 million over the first half of this year. “This volume allows to expect that the company fulfills yearly sales plan of SKK 1.2 billion”, company’s economic director Vladislava Herchelova said to SITA. She added that connection with Swedish concern Skanska last year significantly contributed to positive economic performance of Banske Stavby. For the first six months the company earned a profit of SKK 30 million, up 36 percent on year-on-year terms.

Slovak and German Agriculture Ministers Debate Sugar Market Reform

Planned sugar market reform in the European Union should in particular cut subsidies for sugar beet producers. But its implementation will require a great deal of impact analyses on sugar beet growers as well as employment in this segment. Slovak Agriculture Minister Zsolt Simon and the German Minister of Consumer Protection, Food and Agriculture, Renate Kuenast, shared this opinion on Wednesday. According to the two ministers, this does not permit the reform’s immediate implementation and thus they voted for its deferral at Monday’s session of EU farm ministers. Ms. Kuenast sees summer 2006 as a plausible time scale in which implementation would be suitable.

SARIO is Completing Investment Project Acquisitions Worth EUR 1 Bln.

The Slovak Investment and Trade Development Agency (SARIO) is now completing acquisitions of 14 to 15 investment projects worth EUR 1 billion. The investors should make the final decisions on whether they will invest in Slovakia by the end of October, SARIO spokesman Ondrej Zember informed SITA. These projects should get administrative treatment in the form of signing memorandums of understanding or letters of intent by the start of November. Investments from these projects might help to create 6,000 to 7,000 jobs.

Registration Courts Working within Deadlines Set by Law

State Secretary of the Ministry of Justice Lucia Zitnanska said at a press conference in Bratislava on Wednesday that registration courts in Slovakia are handling applications within deadlines set by law. „This means that they decide on a proposal for entry into the Business Register within five days,“ she said. In the event of an objection being raised, this is again resolved within five days. „Incidences in which it was necessary to extend the deadline, mostly for technical reasons, represented less than 1 percent,“ she said.

CDCP Members Agree to Extend Testing the New System

Members of the Central Securities Depository (CDCP) have agreed to continue testing the temporary clearing and settlement module within CDCP until the end of September. A source close to the Financial Market Office has confirmed this for SITA.

Thursday July 22

Slovakia’s Five-Month FOREX Tourism Revenues At Almost SKK 10 Bln.

Preliminary data from the National Bank of Slovakia shows that Slovakia’s foreign exchange revenues from tourism were SKK 9.9 billion during the first five months of 2004, down 18.8 percent y/y. Foreign exchange expenses of Slovak citizens traveling abroad dropped by 7.4 percent y/y to SKK 8.141 billion. The balance shows an SKK 1.759 billion surplus, down 48.2 percent y/y, according to data released by the Economy Ministry.

Istrobanka to Increase Share Capital by SKK 200 Mln.

Shareholders of Istrobanka, a.s., have approved an increase of its share capital by SKK 200 million to almost SKK 2 billion. General secretary of the bank Elena Penzes-Strobl informed about the results of the Wednesday’s shareholders meeting.

Slovak Food Producers Support EU Sugar Market Reform

The sugar making industry is unfairly favored compared with other branches of the food industry in the European Union thanks to the sugar market regime. Vladimir Sinak, vice-chairman of the board of directors of the Food Industry Chamber in Slovakia (PKS), said at a press conference on Thursday that thus food makers in Slovakia should support launching the sugar market reform as soon as possible. They disagree with the proposal by a number of EU member agriculture ministers, including Slovakia, to postpone the overhaul.

FinMin Revealed 2005 State Budget Draft Bill, so far without Figures

The Slovak Finance Ministry has submitted on Thursday for interdepartmental review the wording of the draft state budget bill for next year. For now the draft does not contain any figures. “The draft bill does not contain figures during this phase of preparations. It is still necessary to incorporate the approved expenditure limits into the budgetary chapters in the required structure,” said finance ministerial spokesman Peter Papanek.

New Investment of SKK 150 Mln. Heading to Kechnec Industrial Park

The company managing Kechnec Industrial Park plans to invest additional SKK 150 million into its infrastructure. The money will go into public utility networks in the center of the park including sewers, gas pipelines, a road, electricity, lighting and phone lines. Village mayor Jozef Konkoly suggests that the investment is important for the optimal use of the park’s premises. According to him, the park has the potential to create some 35,000 new jobs.

Dairies in Slovakia Purchased 477,000 Tons of Milk in H1

Milk processing companies in Slovakia bought 477,000 tons of raw cow milk over H1 of this year, which is a 6-percent drop from last year. The Slovak Diary Union offered the H1 figures for the industry to SITA on Wednesday.

Wustenrot Stavebna Sporitelna Provides SKK 1.7 Bln. for Housing in H1

Housing construction savings bank Wustenrot Stavebna Sporitelna, a.s. provided SKK 1.7 billion for housing purposes in the first half of 2004. It opened 2,216 housing construction savings loans with a target sum totaling SKK 729.4 million and 1,488 interim loans with a target sum amounting to SKK 413 million, Wustenrot’s Daniela Vlckova informed SITA.

Banks in Slovakia Provided SKK 39.56 Bln. in Mortgages to June 2004

Banking houses in Slovakia provided SKK 39.56 billion in mortgages from the beginning of mortgage lending in Slovakia in 1997 until the end of June this year. Banks signed 49,543 contracts with clients, the National Bank of Slovakia (NBS) informed SITA. At the end of the monitored period clients were drawing mortgages at SKK 34.631 billion, which represents 45,605 signed contracts.

SkyEurope Acquired EUR 10 Million from European Investors

SkyEurope Airlines, a low cost airline company in central Europe concluded talks on a new EUR 10 million investment, company PR manager Stanislav Saling informed the media. He explained that the investment is part of the planned increase in the airline’s capital strength by EUR 50 million, whereby the accumulated capital will be used to finance the company’s expansion in central Europe. The CA BA bank was the broker for the capital increase. Institutional investors from Great Britain and continental Europe participated in the capital increase said Mr. Saling.

First Contracts Signed for Drawing Support from Structural Funds

The Ministry of Construction and Regional Development, as a directing body for the Basic Infrastructure sector operational program, signed the first three contracts with recipients of financial support from European Union structural funds on Thursday. The first three recipients are the Health Ministry, Kosice Region and Zilina Region. The projects pertain to building and development of healthcare infrastructure. “The total volume of these projects is about SKK 100 million,” Minister Laszlo Gyurovszky stated at a press conference.

Friday, July 23

Bluecorp Invest Announced Compulsory Takeover Bid for KSP Shares

Bluecorp Invest Limited, a company registered in the registrar for England and Wales and headquartered in Hertfordshire, announced on Friday a compulsory takeover bid for shares of spa Kupele Strbske Pleso (KSP), a.s. The bid applies to bearer stocks while the share price was set at SKK 527. The bid will be valid for thirty calendar days and starts from the day of the promulgation of the bid. Bluecorp Invest Limited will finance the takeover from its own sources, the company announced.

Transport Ministry Seeks Advisor for Sale of Railway Cargo Firm

The Ministry of Transport, Postal Services and Telecommunications is seeking an advisor for the sale process of the railway cargo transport company that will be established by separation from railway operator Zeleznicna Spolocnost a.s. (ZSSK). The ministry announced a restricted tender earlier this week. It is looking for an advisor to counsel the ministry during the selection process with the investor and privatization, head of the Slovak Transport Ministry’s communication section Tatjana Kelcova informed SITA.

Slovakia’s FOREX Reserves Up to USD 14.9975 Bln.

The foreign exchange (FOREX) reserves of Slovakia increased during the past week by USD 700.4 million, reaching USD 14.9975 billion as of July 21. A jump in National Bank of Slovakia (NBS) reserves as well as in the reserve assets of commercial banks is behind the FOREX reserve growth. FOREX reserves of the central bank grew USD 486.7 million to USD 13.5295 billion. Moreover, commercial banks‘ reserves surged by USD 213.7 million to USD 1.468 billion, the NBS press department informed SITA.

Health Ministry Will Deregulate Prices of Non-prescription Drugs

Over-the-counter drugs, i.e. drugs for which patients do not need a prescription and which are not covered by health insurance, should no longer be subject to price regulation. The Health Ministry proposes this in a draft revision to the directive on the extent of price regulation. In total the revision should touch upon 747 drugs currently registered in Slovakia. Thus, only the market should decide about their prices in the future. This change should become effective on August 31.

Construction Ministry to Shelter Government Housing Policy Support

The Ministry of Construction and Regional Development should, in the future, be the only government institution sheltering housing construction support. “Support to mortgage loans and housing construction saving will move from the Finance Ministry to under the Ministry of Construction,” said Construction Minister Laszlo Gyurovszky He added that in late August or early September, he would introduce a new concept of housing policy, which should improve the effectiveness of the funds’ usage. “The ministry plans to support that segment of the population that needs it the most, and it wants to do this within a form of social rental housing,” stressed the minister. The new concept requires cabinet’s and parliament’s approval since some of its proposals touch on valid laws.

Minister says Removal of Contracts was Gesture to Investors

Finance Minister Ivan Miklos does not consider the removal of texts of contracts with Kia Motors Corporation, Hyundai Mobis, and PSA Peugeot Citroen from the Slovak Ministry of Economy’s web site as a move to restrict access to the texts of these documents. „This was more of a gesture towards the investors,“ said Mr. Miklos. He added that anyone can request to see the text of the contracts based on the law on access to information.

UniBanka Closed H1 with SKK 207 Mln. Profit

UniBanka, a.s., closed the first half of this year with a profit of SKK 207 million, while it was SKK 151 million for the same period of last year. Net interest and similar revenues reached SKK 498.42 million, while net revenues from fees and commissions were at SKK 169.7 million. General operating costs of the bank amounted to SKK 516.6 million, the bank informed on Friday.

Consulting Firm Mott MacDonald to Get EUR 500,000 from SSC

The London-based Mott MacDonald Limited will receive EUR 500,000 in the first phase for its assistance to Slovak Roads Administration (SSC) to seek a private investor for highway construction in Slovakia. This amount represents approximately SKK 20 million, however the SSC will not publish the contract with Mott MacDonald, SSC spokesman Juraj Furst said to SITA. SSC signed the contract with the company in June and the advisor should propose an optimal specification for investors within several months. Highway construction financed with private funding could start in the second half of 2005.

Tento projekt je podporený z Európskeho sociálneho fondu


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