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Business Briefs

SE reports huge loss of 676 million crowns

State-run power utility Slovenské elektrárne (SE) made a pre-tax loss of 676 million crowns ($13.52 million) for the period January to October 2000, compared to a loss of 3.92 billion crowns ($78.40 million) for the whole of 1999. SE reported an operating profit of 9.12 billion crowns, up 4.6 billion crowns year-on-year. Operating profit grew on the back of higher electricity sales, including exports, and price growth in 2000, SE director general Vincent Pillár said December 4.
The company recorded a 10-month loss from financial operations, which accounted for 9.83 billion crowns.
Pillár said he expected the company to end this year in the red, although its business plan envisaged a break-even situation at the end of 2000.

DaimlerChrysler representatives meet Mikloš

Cabinet confirmed November 30 that representatives of German-US auto giant DaimlerChrysler had met with Prime Minister Mikuláš Dzurinda and Deputy Prime Minister for Economy Ivan Mikloš, adding that the meeting confirmed the importance attached to Slovakia within the company.
DaimlerChrysler is considering construction of a company engaged in car and rolling stock production in central Europe. The talks between the two parties also dealt with integration processes and opportunities for support of foreign companies' investment plans in Slovakia.

Three investors submit bids for SLSP bank

The Privatisation Ministry said December 4 that it had obtained binding bids from three potential buyers of an 87.18% stake in Slovakia's largest commercial bank, Slovenská sporiteľňa (SLSP). Spokesman for the ministry Robert Merva said the bidders were the Austrian banks Bank Austria and Erste Bank and the Italian financial group UniCredito.
A seven-member commission for evaluating and recommending the most suitable bid has been appointed to recommend a winner to the government. The winning bid should be the best from the viewpoint of price, the bank's strategy, and the quality of investor.
Finance Minister Brigita Schmögnerová said in November that the privatisation contract with a new majority shareholder in SLSP should be signed within the first 10 days of January.

Slovnaft gross profit at 886.8 million crowns

Crude oil refiner Slovnaft reported a gross profit of 886.8 million crowns ($17.72 million) in the first 10 months of 2000 after ending the same period of the previous year with a loss of 2.6 billion crowns. Operating profit was 6.07 billion crowns, up nearly 4 billion crowns year-on-year after a change in the company's product structure, Slovnaft spokesman Ľubomír Žitňan said December 1.
During Q1-Q3 2000, Slovnaft reported a gross profit of 781.9 million crowns.

Cabinet to decide on privatisation of VSE by March

Late March 2001 is the deadline for the cabinet to discuss the privatisation of state-controlled energy distributor Východoslovenské energetické závody, (VSE), and to decide on a final privatisation programme. VSE will either be sold directly to a strategic investor or offered on the capital market, or both.
On April 1, 2001, the company will be transformed into a joint stock company - Východoslovenská Energetika - of which a part will subsequently be privatised. A document on VSE's privatisation was approved last month by economic ministers.

Compiled by Ed Holt from SITA

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