Cross Up! production launched. The Slovak arm of the German carmaker Volkswagen Slovakia launched the production of the Volkswagen Cross Up! model.

Kia sports car production begins. The Slovak arm of the South Korean carmaker, Kia Motors Slovakia, started serial production of the first sport version of the Kia cee’d GT model.

Ownership changes in SSE. Electricité de France sold its 49-percent stake in the regional energy company Stredoslovenská Energetika (SSE) to Energetický a Průmyslový Holding (EPH) for about €400 million. The transaction became final in December. Economy Ministry spokesman Stanislav Jurikovič said that with the change of shareholders the state, which is the majority owner of the firm, received better and stronger control over the company. The new shareholder agreement redefines pre-emptive rights over a company’s shares and creates a new list of transactions to be approved by the state. This includes controlling material agreements where the counterparty of SSE might be a subject belonging to EPH. The agreements with the previous shareholder did not allow the state to block such contracts.

Slovakia’s competitiveness is unchanged. In 2013, Slovakia’s competitiveness neither improved nor worsened, according to the results of the annual Global Competitiveness Report 2013, published by the World Economic Forum (WEF). Slovakia ranked 47th of the total of 60 assessed countries, unchanged from 2012. Compared to its closest neighbours, Slovakia placed behind Poland (33), and the Czech Republic (35). This year, however, Slovakia outperformed Hungary (50).

AXA ends banking business in Slovakia. The French financial group AXA is winding down its banking business in Slovakia to focus on different financial services. AXA and UniCredit Bank Slovakia signed a cooperation agreement, based on which AXA Group will focus exclusively on insurance, pension savings and mutual fund investing, while UniCredit Bank will take up the banking portfolio.

THE YEAR IN BUSINESS

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December