Chase Nominees revealed as VSŽ share sellers
Chase Nominees has been revealed as the seller of the better portion of an 8.68% stake in Košice steel manufacturer VSŽ, which was acquired by USX Corporation October 3.
Chase Nominees, a company engaged in asset management for investment funds and private owners of securities, sold almost its entire stake in VSŽ for 197 crowns per share. Its stake decreased from 8.07 to 0.16%.
On October 3, other small packages of VSŽ shares were also transferred at the same price, and the final package of 1,422,471 shares changed hands three times in total, two times at 197 crowns and once at 187 crowns per piece.
Spokesman for US Steel (a member of the USX Group) Thomas R. Ferrall called the purchase of VSŽ shares "an excellent investment opportunity". However, he refused to specify either the price or sellers of shares making up a 13.95% stake that USX has acquired so far. The two transactions amount to approximately 428 million crowns ($8.5 million).
In late September, US Steel signed a series of agreements with VSŽ, the Slovak government and a consortium of bank creditors associated with US Steel's entry into the Košice-based steelmaker. On the basis of these agreements, the American firm will pay $60 million in cash to VSŽ shareholders for VSŽ's core business. It will then pay off a further $25 million-$75 million to the present shareholders of VSŽ by 2002 and 2003 dependent upon VSŽ's results.
With the 14% stake gained at the current exchange rate, US Steel should in fact pay itself 420 million crowns in cash and 175-525 million crowns in 2002 and 2003.
A VSŽ special shareholders' meeting scheduled for October 12 is expected to give final approval for the takeover of the Košice firm by US Steel.
Parliament passes new money- laundering law
Parliament passed October 5 a cabinet draft on protection against the legalisation of revenues from criminal activities, known as the bill against money laundering. Cabinet asked deputies for shortened legislative proceedings for the bill. Of 106 deputies present, 103 voted for the bill, one abstained and two did not vote. The law will become effective as of January 1, 2001.
The law widens the definition of entities that have a duty to report suspicious transactions to the economic crime unit of the police. The law names asset management companies, stock market organisers, brokers, stock exchanges, commodity exchanges, insurance companies, post offices, auditors, tax advisors, casinos, credit societies, and other entities as those who have this obligation to report suspicious operations. The law valid so far obliged only banks to do so.
Interior Minister Ladislav Pittner said that intelligence information has indicated that about 100 billion crowns has been illegally taken out of Slovakia.
Interest rises in SAD bus line privatisation
The Ministry of Transport has received 23 applications for the privatisation of 17 enterprises of the SAD (public bus transport companies). The ministry is expected to officially announce the privatisation tender by the middle of October.
The ministry is looking to privatise a 49% stake in SAD companies before December 31, 2000, it has said. SAD state-run companies operate over 5,000 buses with company property estimated at four billion crowns. The companies reported a balanced budget for 1999 with output of 6.51 billion crowns and costs of 6.52 billion crowns.
Compiled by Ed Holt
16. Oct 2000 at 0:00