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Business Briefs

Unemployment rises in last month of 2000
ING Bank plans to enter retail banking in Slovakia
Ministers promise to keep checking privatisation

Unemployment rises in last month of 2000

The number of registered unemployed in Slovakia at the end of December last year reached 506,497, a rise of 28,727 on November, pushing the unemployment rate up to 18.8% from 17.73%. Releasing the figures the National Labour Office (NÚP) said the reason for the drop in employment was the conclusion of the government's public works project.
In December the highest registered jobless rate was in the Košice Region (25.53%), followed by the regions of Prešov (23.18%), Banská Bystrica (22.84%), and Nitra (22.7%). Bratislava reported the lowest unemployment rate (6.8%), followed by Trenčin (13.51%).

ING Bank plans to enter retail banking in Slovakia

Jan Hillered, director of the Slovak branch of ING Bank, said January 19 that the bank wanted to move into retail banking to improve its cross-selling.
"We operate a strong insurance company as well as a bank oriented towards corporate banking. Through expansion in the form of offering banking products to clients of our insurance company and vice versa, we want to achieve as much synergy as possible," said Hillered. He added that ING Bank wants to widen its clientele in the retail sector, but that it will pay most attention to its current clients.
Transformation of SE gathers pace with new groups
The privatisation of Slovak power monolith Slovenské elektrárne (SE) moved forward January 19 with the creation of working groups to oversee the transformation of the heating and distribution arms of the business into separate companies.
Economy Minister Ľubomír Harach said that the group dealing with the distribution companies would be headed by former SE chief and former economy minister Karol Česnek, and that the heating firms would be led by director of the Košice-based Tepelná energetika heating company, Ján Ferency.
The transformation of SE is due to be discussed by the Privatisation and Economy Ministries before the end of April, and a new distribution company, Slovenská prenosová, is expected to be established on May 1.

Ministers promise to keep checking privatisation

Deputy Prime Minister for the Economy Ivan Mikloš said January 22 that he and other economic ministers - Economy Minister Ľubomír Harach and Finance Minister Brigita Schmognerová - would check to make sure that the government's privatisation schedule was being met.

Compiled by Ed Holt from SITA and TASR

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