Business Briefs

Slovakia to join OECD 'club' in November
Schmögnerová wants businessmen to oppose gas hikes
Ministers approve US Steel entry into VSŽ steel-maker

Slovakia to join OECD 'club' in November

The Slovak cabinet on August 31 approved an agreement between Slovakia and the OECD on economic cooperation and development and on inviting Slovakia to adopt the founding document on the economic club. After signing the document on September 28, parliament is expected to ratify it in October, when President Rudolf Schuster should add his signature.
Deputy Prime Minister for Economy Ivan Mikloš said that Slovakia would then submit the ratified document to the depository of the French government. Slovakia would formally become a member of the OECD, therefore, probably in November.


Schmögnerová wants businessmen to oppose gas hikes

Businessmen should unanimously and decisively oppose SPP's (state-run gas distributor) proposal to increase gas prices, said Finance Minister Brigita Schmögnerová on September 3. Schmögnerová said that SPP should instead concentrate on further decreasing its internal costs.
SPP in August proposed a price hike for the corporate sector by 45%, effective September 1. The minister says that such a price growth would immediately affect the development of producer prices.
SPP, traditionally the most profitable company in Slovakia, grossed 5.8 billion Slovak crowns over the first six months of 2000, a y/y fall of 38.4%. The considerably higher costs of purchasing gas were blamed for the profit reduction. Had the purchase price remained at 1999 levels, the company would have grossed 12.6 billion crowns.


Ministers approve US Steel entry into VSŽ steel-maker

The Slovak Cabinet met on September 5 and unanimously approved the agreement between American steel giant US Steel and the Slovak steelmaker VSŽ. Prime Minister Mikuláš Dzurinda said he now believed no obstacle existed which would prevent the positive decision of the special general assembly of VSŽ shareholders on the entry of the US steel corporation into VSŽ.
US Steel spokesman Thomas Ferrall said recently that the US side had originally wanted to submit its final bid to VSŽ shareholders in late August. The basic conditions for the U.S. Steel takeover of VSŽ core companies is the settlement of overdue taxes and the agreement of creditor banks. VSŽ management is currently preparing all documents necessary for the shareholders to make the expected decision at the special meeting.


Compiled by Chris Togneri
from SITA

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