Record dividends to be paid to foreign owners

FOREIGN owners of Slovak companies will earn record high dividends from their Slovak assets this year.

In 1999 a total of Sk1.7 billon was paid out in dividends to foreign owners. This year, analysts estimate that the sum will reach Sk35-40 billion.

The increasing volume of dividends paid abroad is due largely to foreign ownership of the Slovak energy and banking sectors, the Pravda daily wrote.

Traditionally, the largest payer of dividends in Slovakia is the Slovenský plynárenský priemysel (SPP) gas utility, which this year will bring nearly Sk10 billion to its foreign owners.

The Hungarian MOL, which owns the Slovak oil refinery Slovnaft, will get Sk7.7 billion from its Slovak assets this year.

A further increase in dividend payments abroad depends largely on whether the next government completes the privatization of the energy sector in Slovakia, said analyst Lucia Stekláčová of the ING bank.

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