Business Briefs

Lyonnaise des Eaux to bid for Bratislava water utility
Bus manufacturer SlovBus forms joint venture with ZAO
Power supplies to Slovak Rail back on
FNM announces tender for shipping company
Japanese agency moves Slovakia to BBB rating

Lyonnaise des Eaux to bid for Bratislava water utility

Director of Lyonnaise SR, Antonin Pokorný, March 19 officially declared that the Slovak arm of the French-Belgian company Lyonnaise des Eaux was interested in the privatisation of one of the five water utilities making up Vodárne a Kanalizácie (VaK), Západoslovenské Vodárne a Kanalizácie (ZsVaK) in Bratislava.
"The Bratislava water utility has a real chance to become the first private water utility. June 2001 is the deadline for submitting the privatisation project, and the utility could operate as a joint-stock company as of January 2002," Pokorný said.

Bus manufacturer SlovBus forms joint venture with ZAO

Slovak bus manufacturer SlovBus March 21 announced the launch of a joint venture for the production of buses, KazSlovBus, with engineering company ZAO Juzny Masinostrojitelny Zavod of the central Asian state of Kazakhstan. SlovBus also signed a supply contract for buses with ZOA for 40 buses.
"During the first half of the year we will deliver five SlovBus buses to southern Kazakhstan, with 35 more to be shipped later in the year. The joint venture will account for approximately 15% of our total production," Jozef Lackovič, SlovBus marketing director, said.
In 2002, the company plans to double production of buses to 80 units while the share of total production undertaken by the joint venture will rise to 30%.

Power supplies to Slovak Rail back on

Power distribution companies renewed electricity supplies to Slovak Rail (ŽSR) in full before the beginning of March 20 talks on the settlement of overdue power bills, ŽSR spokesman Miloš Čikovský said. Power distribution companies had switched off power supplies to some ŽSR service units after the state firm ran up debts of 1.6 billion crowns ($33 million).
Andrej Egyed, ŽSR director general, held talks with representatives of regional power distributors.

FNM announces tender for shipping company

The National Property Fund (FNM) March 20 announced a tender for the sale of an 86.99% stake in shipping company Slovenská Plavba a Prístavy (SPaP) Bratislava. Potential investors must submit their bids, including a business plan for the company, by April 20.
SPaP's share capital is almost 2.55 billion crowns ($53 million) with a per share nominal value of 1,000 crowns. It operates 230 river cargo vessels, nine passenger river vessels, and three seagoing cargo ships.

Japanese agency moves Slovakia to BBB rating

The Japan Credit Rating Agency (JCR) granted Slovakia an investment rating of BBB March 15 - its highest ever rating for Slovakia. JCR changed the rating, it said, after an improvement in macroeconomic and political stability and the state of the financial sector, and Slovakia's OECD membership.
If other ratings agencies join the JCR, interest rates for long-term loans of the government in foreign currency could gradually drop up to 1.5%, Finance Minister Brigita Schmögnerová said.

Compiled by Ed Holt
from SITA and TASR

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