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Slovakia's payment discipline among worst

SLOVAKIA has placed 20th out of 25 European countries in a payment-discipline survey carried out in February by Swedish-based company Intrum Justitia, which specialises in the management of receivables.

Intrum Justitia's European Payment Index (EPI) reflects a set of indicators collected from a total of 6,500 businesses.

Slovakia received a rating that was nearly identical to those given to Poland and Hungary. The Czech Republic received the worst rating among the Visegrad Four countries, with 23rd place.

The survey was topped by Nordic countries Finland, Sweden and Norway, while Greece and Portugal were at the bottom.

Repayment delays in Slovakia were among the longest in Europe. "While Finland was found to be 6.3 days late with repayments, Slovakia remains in default for an average of 20.1 days," said Zoltán Papp, commercial director of the Slovak branch of Intrum Justitia. Portugal, with the worst record in Europe, had an average default period of nearly 40 days.

Slovakia has a higher proportion of unsettled payments than the European average. Its figure of 2.8 percent is four times that of Finland, but still better than those of all the other Visegrad Four countries.

According to Papp, the public-administration sector has better payment discipline than ordinary consumers in Slovakia, while in Western Europe it is the other way around.

"This comes down to a great boom in Slovakia, when people are taking out loans or buying things on hire purchase, but failing to consider whether they'll be able to repay their obligations."

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