Business news roundup

June 1 - Danish investor Unomedical opens a production plant in Michalovce. The new plant will produce disposable sterile medical materials and instruments. The company is investing more than Sk350 million and plans to employ up to 550 people.

June 1 - Danish investor Unomedical opens a production plant in Michalovce. The new plant will produce disposable sterile medical materials and instruments. The company is investing more than Sk350 million and plans to employ up to 550 people.

June 1 - French carmaker Peugeot Citroen makes its first Peugeot 270 model in its new plant in Trnava.

June 5 - The Slovak labour inspection authority announces that in 2005 its inspectors found 1,693 illegal workers in Slovakia, of whom 1,074 were employed by private individuals and 538 worked for limited liability companies. The inspectorate checked 44,578 people in total, focusing on employers with under 50 employees.

June 5 - The Slovak Antitrust Office takes more time to examine the Slovak government's sale of its 66 percent stakes in the state's two largest airports, in Bratislava and Košice, to the TwoOne consortium. The deadline for a final verdict is thus delayed until August 14.

June 7 - American financial group Simonstein & Henriks, represented by consulting firm Akerman Advisory Association, confirms a Sk16 billion (€438 million) investment in Slovakia. On a 100-hectare site in Spišský Hrhov, a robotized plant will produce for the automotive and other branches of industry. The US investment should directly create over 1,000 jobs.

June 13 - The NBS, Slovakia's central bank, approves a measure which will force banks and foreign bank branches in Slovakia to inform the Finance Ministry and the NBS about fees charged to clients for selected transactions. The measure took effect on July 1.

June 14 - Slovakia's dominant fixed-line operator Slovak Telekom (ST) will become a service provider for a technological innovation known as Triple Play, having been registered for the service by the national authority, the Council for Broadcasting and Retransmission. Slovak Telekom will thus be entitled to provide television and radio programme services on Slovak territory.

June 16 - Total hourly labour costs in Slovakia rose by 7.5 percent year-on-year in the first quarter of 2006 according to figures released by Eurostat. Slovakia thus reported the fourth fastest growth in labour costs within the EU, following Latvia with 19 percent, Estonia with 14.9 percent and Lithuania with 13.2 percent. Hungary finished fifth with labour costs going up 5 percent on an annual basis. The price of labour in Slovakia, however, still remains among the lowest in the EU at just around €24 in the EU15.

June 18 - In an initial reaction to the election results, Slovakia's economic analysts are cautious and even believe that the right-wing reforms of the previous government could survive the election results. According to Eugen Jurzyca, head of the Central European Institute for Economic and Social Reforms, reforms might even continue, albeit at a slower pace.

June 21 - The government decides that Slovakia will take out a €50 million loan from the European Investment Bank (EIB) to construct the D1 highway stretch between Sverepec and Vrtižer, a section of the Bratislava-Žilina highway. Of the total costs of €245.3 million (Sk9.3 billion), the government wants to cover €65.3 million from the national budget and EU funds. The remaining €180 million should be financed through more EIB loans.

June 23 - The Slovintegra company launches the construction of a gas-steam power production cycle in the Levice-Géňa industrial park. The firm plans to invest Sk2 billion in the project, which should be completed in the first half of 2007.

June 27- The central bank keeps key interest rates unchanged but notes that inflation risks still prevail. The NBS is ready to act should the situation deteriorate, NBS governor Ivan Šramko says.

June 29 - After continuing losses by the Slovak crown against the euro, the NBS steps into the forex market to prop up the crown as it drops to 38.48 SKK/EUR.

June 30 - Standard & Poor's says that the growing prospect of a populist and nationalist Slovak government coalition will not have an immediate impact on the sovereign credit ratings of the Slovak Republic, currently rated at A/A-1. Nevertheless, if previous reform-oriented economic and fiscal policies are reversed, this could pose a risk to the country's creditworthiness in the mid term.

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