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State debt hits record Business in short Locked SLOVAKIA had the highest state debt in its history, €42.3 billion or 58.4 percent of GDP in late March, based on the Eurostat statistics. The debt increased by 3 percentage points y/y. The Finance Ministry says that the debt increased because the state managed to borrow money from investors for low interests. It expects that the debt will return to near to 55 percent of GDP by year’s end. If the debt were to exceed 57 percent at the end of the year, the so-called debt brake would automatically kick in and force the government to have a balanced budget next year, meaning billions in spending cuts. 28 Jul 2014 The Slovak Spectator
Chemical firm seeks record tax relief Business in short Locked THE RECORD tax relief which the chemical company Duslo Šaľa is requesting from the state to keep its production in Slovakia has raised criticism among the opposition as well as economic analysts. They see this state assistance not only as a non-systematic form of aid but also say it points to business connections between current Economy Minister Pavol Pavlis and tycoon and Czech Finance Minister (of Slovak origin) Andrej Babiš, who owns the company. The Pharmaceutical and Chemical Industry Association says the assistance is needed because of the current situation in the chemical market in Europe. 28 Jul 2014 The Slovak Spectator
Unemployment drops slightly in Jun Locked DESPITE an influx of graduates in the labour offices, the jobless rate dropped in June, though only slightly. Observers predict that it will continue to decrease and by the end of the year it may stand at 12 percent. 28 Jul 2014 The Slovak Spectator
Police search Slovenské Elektrárne SLOVAKIA’S largest electricity company, Slovenské Elektrárne, had some uninvited guests on July 23 when the Slovak police came to the company’s headquarters as well as other facilities seeking documents pertaining to the privatisation of the company back in 2006. Amid continued talk of a sell off by its Italian majority owner Enel the timing of the raid is powering a wave of questions and speculation. 24 Jul 2014 The Slovak Spectator
Sieť proposes against Russians Business in short PRIVATE owners of firms should not be allowed to sell their shares to whomever they like based on a proposal by the extra-parliamentary Sieť party, which seeks to limit such rights in cases where national security is threatened. 21 Jul 2014 The Slovak Spectator
Budget cuts dragged on growth last year Business in short CONSOLIDATION measures adopted in recent years have negatively affected the Slovak economy, but growth was not significantly reduced, according to the latest report of the Financial Policy Institute (IFP), published on July 15. 21 Jul 2014 The Slovak Spectator
FinMin introduces new measures to close tax loopholes THE FINANCE Ministry attributes its increased collection of tax revenues to measures it has enacted to combat tax evasion, and it intends to continue down this path by closing some legal loopholes. In early July, the ministry introduced another package of measures aimed at further increasing tax collection, and plans to submit draft revisions to respective laws to interdepartmental review. The views among companies on the proposed changes, however, are mixed. 21 Jul 2014 The Slovak Spectator
Lidl case sees gov’t soften tax cheat penalties LESS THAN six months after stricter rules punishing businesses for cheating on taxes became effective, the ruling Smer party is changing the law again. The amendment, cleared by parliament last month, will mitigate some penalties that are part of the current provisions and comes after one of the biggest retail chains in Slovakia, Lidl, faced losing its license after it allegedly issued inaccurate receipts. 21 Jul 2014 The Slovak Spectator
Slovakia experienced moderate deflation in June Food prices decreased, surprisingly AFTER stagnation in May, a moderate decrease in consumer prices resumed in June. Prices decreased by 0.1 percent in June compared with the same period of 2013, when the month-on-month comparison saw growth slow from May’s 0.2 percent to June’s 0.1 percent, the Slovak Statistics Office reported on July 14. 21 Jul 2014 The Slovak Spectator
ČSA halves Prague-Bratislava-Košice flights in summer CZECH airliner České Aerolínie (ČSA Czech Airlines) has reduced the frequency of scheduled flights between Prague and Košice via Bratislava for the summer. Travellers now have four instead of eight return flights per week. The airliner scaled back its summer flight schedule due to lower interest among business clients in flying this route during the summer months, the SITA newswire reported on July 15. 21 Jul 2014 The Slovak Spectator
Cartel participants excluded Business in short THE PUBLIC Procurement Office (ÚVO) has excluded Doprastav and the Prague-based Strabag construction companies from future public tenders due to their participation in a 2004 cartel agreement in a highway construction public tender. The ÚVO has not specified how long the companies will be not able to compete for public orders, but it could be three to five years, the SITA newswire wrote.“This is not any unexpected thing,” Transport Minister Ján Počiatek said in response to the ÚVO’s step, as cited by the TASR newswire. “It is important that companies, which were part of the cartel, are punished.” 14 Jul 2014 The Slovak Spectator
VAT rate preserved at 20 percent Busienss in short WHILE the ruling Smer party of Prime Minister Robert Fico had criticised the temporary increase of value added tax (VAT) to 20 percent by the previous government of Iveta Radičová as one of measures to consolidate public finances, it has declined to return it to 19 percent even though conditions for doing so have been met. The Slovak parliament, in which Smer holds the majority, adopted on July 8 a revision to the VAT Act, removing from it the regulation based on which the VAT drops from 20 percent back to 19 percent when the general government deficit decreases below 3 percent. Based on statistics of Eurostat, the deficit was 2.77 percent in 2013, the TASR newswire wrote. 14 Jul 2014 The Slovak Spectator
Temporary employment rules to change A PROPOSAL to strengthen the rules for hiring people through temporary employment agencies has created a rift between the social partners. While the Labour Ministry and trade unions claim the changes will improve working conditions for temporary workers, employers and agencies say the new rules will abolish agency employment and leave many people without work. 14 Jul 2014 The Slovak Spectator
Unified road tax on the table THE FINANCE Ministry is proposing to unify motor vehicle tax rates in 2015, a break from the current policy, whereby regional self-governments set rates, and an attempt to level the playing field for businesses.“The collection of the tax for usage of motor vehicles by the state will secure equal rights for all business entities and simultaneously this will support usage of ecological vehicles,” said Radko Kuruc, advisor of the Finance Ministry, as cited by the Pravda daily.Commercial transport firms welcome the proposed change, as they consider the the current rates too high. Under the proposal, the national tax rate would be comparable to that now in Banská Bystrica Region, which has the lowest rates in the country. 14 Jul 2014 The Slovak Spectator
US banks to get millions from Telecom shares sale Business in short TWO of the biggest US banks, J.P. Morgan and Citibank, will benefit from the sale of Slovakia’s stake in telecommunications firm Slovak Telekom. The government privatisation agency, the National Property Fund, has signed a contract with the banks for consultancy services, with commissions ranging from €10 million to €22 million. 7 Jul 2014 The Slovak Spectator
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1 EUR = 27.51 CZK
1 EUR = 27.51 CZK
1 EUR = 27.51 CZK
1 EUR = 0.79 GBP
1 EUR = 0.79 GBP
1 EUR = 0.79 GBP
1 EUR = 1.34 USD
1 EUR = 1.34 USD
1 EUR = 1.34 USD
1 EUR = 30.126 SKK
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Quote of the Week
“I have been waiting for seven weeks, naively [thinking] … that he would come and say: ‘Yes people, I was fooling you. I am sorry; try to forgive me’.” OĽaNO head Igor Matovič responding to Sieť leader Radoslav Procházka’s claims that the recording on which the two discuss the latter’s presidential campaign funding was heavily edited.