Business news roundup

April 3- Foreign, largely Korean, suppliers of the new Hyundai/Kia carmaker plant near Žilina, in northern Slovakia, prepare to take legal steps against Slovakia for not providing promised investment stimuli. In a letter to the Slovak economy and finance ministers, the suppliers state their intention to take the issue to the International Center for Settlement of Investment Disputes in Washington DC if Slovakia fails to follow through on its end of the deal. Economy Minister Jirko Malchárek stands firm against their demands.

April 3- Czech Sekyra group plans to invest more than Sk11 billion in Slovakia over the next five years by building apartment blocks in Bratislava.

April 3- The Slovak antitrust authority (PMÚ) approves the takeover of Slovak tissue paper producer Tento by Finnish company Metsa Tissue, a member of the Metsaliitto Group.

April 4- Slovakia's jobless rate in February reaches 15.8 percent, according to Eurostat data, a 0.1 percent decrease from January. Despite the drop, Slovakia still suffers the second-highest unemployment rate of all EU countries in February, with only Poland worse at 17 percent.

April 5- Finance Minister Ivan Mikloš states macroeconomic targets from the government's programme have mostly been met in the past four years. According to him, the government managed to meet its intention of supporting long-term sustainable economic growth through increased labour productivity, an influx of foreign investment, the creation of a favourable business climate, support of a stable exchange rate for the Slovak crown, adequate interest rates and transparent tax legislation.

April 5- Slovakia launches negotiations with the Russian Federation over a new natural gas supply contract after Prime Minister Mikuláš Dzurinda states the current contract will terminate in 2008.

April 7- Private individuals and corporate entities submit almost 458,700 income tax returns for the year 2005 by the deadline of March 31, an increase of over 62,300 returns compared with the previous year.

April 10- Austrian antitrust officials approve the sale of the Bratislava airport to the TwoOne consortium, which includes Vienna airport, the Austrian Raiffeisen Zentralbank and the Slovak private equity group Penta, setting the stage for the consortium to become the owner of a 66-percent stake. The sale is also under examination by the PMÚ.

April 11- Slovak Telekom, a member of the Deutsche Telekom group, selects the Alcatel corporation as its supplier for building a new generation of Internet protocol-based television.

April 11- The Ministry of Construction and Regional Development doles out over Sk60.7 billion (€1.62 billion) in EU structural fund support to the filers of 3,511 approved applications. The biggest portion, Sk23.1 billion, was approved for 1,000 projects from the "Basic Infrastructure" operating programme. Of this sum, Sk9.6 billion will go into transport infrastructure projects. Slovak entities so far requested support for 11,545 projects, totaling Sk188.8 billion.

April 12- The PMÚ okays Spanish developer Rodamco Inversiones acquisition of 50 percent of Aupark, Aupark Bratislava, and Aupark Nitra. The Filwood Holdings Limited company that sold the stakes to Rodamco for about €75 million (Sk2.8 billion) remains the holder of the remaining stakes in all three companies.

April 20- Chinese computer maker Lenovo announces plans to set up a centre in Bratislava for the region of Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA), where it will employ more than 300 people. The centre will process orders from the EMEA region, provide technical support and financial management.

April 27- Winter ski resorts that formed an association called Slovakia SKI Region plan to invest at least €1.5 billion (Sk56 billion) in the next five years.

April 27- The privatisation of a 66-percent stake in dominant Slovak power producer Slovenské elektrárne (SE) is concluded as Italian Enel, SE's new majority owner, and the state sign the final documents closing the deal. Enel paid €839 million for SE (Sk31.4 billion).

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