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Business Briefs

SPP reports lower gas transit totals
Transpetrol advisor tender in November
Unemployment rate lowest for 16 months
IRB posts profit in Q1-Q3 2000
Clinton writes Dzurinda on US Steel entry into VSŽ
Slovak banks preparing for E-banking boom

SPP reports lower gas transit totals

The volume of natural gas transported by the gas distributor and public utility Slovenský plynárenský priemysel (SPP) transit lines this year will be 8.3 billion cubic metres lower than 1999 - a 9.4% drop. SPP had originally planned transit volumes at 89.9 billion cubic metres in 2000.


Transpetrol advisor tender in November

The Economy Ministry said it is preparing a tender to select an advisor for privatisation of a 49% stake in crude-oil pipeline operator Transpetrol in November, the ministry said October 20. The news follows a recent announcement of a tender for an advisor for the privatisation of gas distributor SPP.


Unemployment rate lowest for 16 months

The number of registered unemployed in Slovakia as of September 30 dipped 21,914 to 472,539, bringing the registered unemployed rate to 17.54%, the lowest figure in the past 16 months. The disposable registered unemployed rate (unemployed ready to immediately take jobs) dropped 0.82 percentage points over September to 16.58%, the National Labour Office (NUP) said.
The drop was brought about primarily by a government works programme which has taken thousands of long-term unemployed people off officialjobless charts.


IRB posts profit in Q1-Q3 2000

State bank Investiená a rozvojová banka (IRB) reported a profit of 4.5 million crowns for the first nine months of this year, after closing the first half of 2000 147 million crowns in the red. The finance house posted a profit after completion of a pre-privatisation restructuring programme in the third quarter. IRB has said it wants to close the year with a profit of 52 million crowns.


Clinton writes Dzurinda on US Steel entry into VSŽ

US President Bill Clinton sent a telegram on October 24 to Slovak Prime Minister Mikuláš Dzurinda, saying he was pleased with the entry of US Steel into the Slovak steelmaking giant VSŽ Košice. According to Clinton, this new relationship sends positive signs about the country's economic growth and the potential for more American capital investments in Slovakia. But the most important aspect of the deal, Clinton wrote, was that Slovakia and America were becoming closer partners and friends.
Clinton stressed that Dzurinda had greatly contributed to the growth of Slovakia, and said he was grateful for the leadership demonstrated by the Slovak Prime Minister. Clinton added that he was convinced that the deal marked a step towards Slovakia's integration into the global economy.


Slovak banks preparing for E-banking boom

The number of mobile phones currently in use in Slovakia fluctuates around 900,000 (making for a penetration rate of 16.5%), a number expected to increase to 1 million next year and by another 100,000 in 2002. Nearly all banks in Slovakia are looking to take advantage of this trend by offering options to clients to conduct banking operations through mobile phones.
Slovak bank representatives said that the number of domestic payment orders carried out via e-banking services accounted for 22% of the total number of transactions conducted in 1999. This year the number is expected to increase to 41% in the year 2000.


Compiled by Ed Holt and Keith Miller from SITA

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