Business Briefs

Deputy PM: EFSAL loan approval June 19
Unemployment fall expected as new measures approved
Slovnaft looks to absorb daughter firm Benzinol
FWA tender delayed for third time
Advisor to push for SPP foreign market issues

Deputy PM: EFSAL loan approval June 19

Deputy Prime Minister for the Economy Ivan Mikloš said April 29 that the World Bank would approve disbursement of the first tranche of a $300 million Enterprise and Financial Sector Adjustment Loan (EFSAL) for Slovakia June 19.
The money is expected to arrive in Slovakia in August, however.
Speaking in an interview with news agency Reuters, Miklos said that after meetings with top WB officials there was only one outstanding technical detail to be solved by the bank. "We have been assured that it will be resolved, and then the World Bank board will approve the loan on June 19," he said.
The loan will come as part of a Country Assistance Strategy (CAS) package.

Unemployment fall expected as new measures approved

Deputy Prime Minister for Economy Ivan Mikloš said after a government sitting that he expected a fall in the 550,000 registered unemployed this year following cabinet's April 25 adoption of 27 measures to combat unemployment.
Mikloš estimated that up to 120,000 of those registered as without jobs are actually working. Prime Minister Mikuláš Dzurinda tasked Mikloš with reporting to cabinet every two weeks on progress made in combating joblessness.
Slovakia's current jobless rate hovers around 20% with some districts, such as Rimavská Sobota in central Slovakia, reporting figures as high as 36%. Last year the government launched a public works scheme to reduce unemployment, offering temporary work to long-term unemployed. Many analysts say that the scheme is merely a short-term solution to a long-term problem.

Slovnaft looks to absorb daughter firm Benzinol

Slovak refinery Slovnaft announced April 25 that it is to absorb daughter company Slovnaft Benzinol, which is mainly involved in retailing petroleum products through a chain of filling stations. The Slovnaft board of directors empowered company management to raise Slovnaft's stake in Benzinol from the current 85.2% to 100% by June 30, 2001.
Slovnaft itself, one of the most technologically advanced refineries in central Europe, is expected to become majority-owned by the Hungarian oil and gas firm MOL by the close of this year.

FWA tender delayed for third time

Telecoms market regulator the Telecom Office has pushed back the closing date for the submission of bids in an FWA tender from April 27 to May 4, explaining the decision by the complexity of the material required from bidders. The move means that the tender has been delayed for a third time, having originally been expected some time in late January/early February this year.
So far, 12 companies have expressed an interest in the licences: both present mobile operators Globtel and EuroTel Bratislava, fixed-line monopoly Slovak Telecom, and telecommunications companies Callino, Nextra Wireless, K.I.S.S., RDT Telecom, GiTy Slovensko, Landtel N.V. Holding, Globalnet, Metis (Slovakia), and Transtel.
The state is hoping to fetch 70 million crowns ($1.5 million) for each of the three licences it is offering.

Advisor to push for SPP foreign market issues

Credit Suisse First Boston, advisor on the sale of Slovak gas utility Slovenský plynárenský priemysel (SPP), said April 26 that it will advise the government to float shares in the firm on foreign capital markets.
The issues would be a blow to the beleaguered Bratislava bourse, which had been hoping to see 15% of the full 49% due to be privatisated placed on its own trading floor. Dealers have said that the move would bring much-needed interest to a market which has only eight listed trades.

Compiled by Ed Holt
from SITA and Slovak press

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