Business Briefs

30.9 billion crowns in bad loans to be transferred
Istrobanka Q1 profit at 20 million crowns
Producer prices up year-on-year in March
SP approves updated budget for 2000
Slovnaft refinery caught in the red for Q1 2000
Ľudová banka slips on operating profit in 1999
ST reports net earnings of 2.06 billion crowns
Nafta Gbely shareholders approve bond issue

30.9 billion crowns in bad loans to be transferred

Economic ministers on May 2 approved a proposal for the second phase of pre-privatisation restructuring of selected banks which will see 31 billion crowns of bad loans transferred from Všeobecná úverova banka (VÚB) and Slovenská sporiteľňa (SLSP).
Deputy Prime Minister Ivan Mikloš said that the move will see the share of classified loans at the banks fall to 20% of their total loan portfolio from an original 47%.
By the end of June, VÚB should transfer bad loans totalling 21.3 billion crowns and SLSP 9.6 billion crowns to Slovenská Konsolidačná.

Istrobanka Q1 profit at 20 million crowns

Over the first quarter of this year, Bratislava's Istrobanka reported a profit of 19.7 million crowns, with operating profits of 117.5 million crowns, the bank said April 28.
The bank's total assets stood at 26.5 billion crowns at the end of March, an increase of 105 million crowns from the end of 1999. Istrobanka's loan volume stood at 11.6 billion crowns.
"The low growth of loans is the result of the conservative and cautious policy of the bank in providing loans to commercial entities," a spokesman for the bank said.
Securities stood at 7.3 billion crowns, a 13% increase from the end of last year, and clients' deposits also grew by the same percentage to 18 billion crowns.

Producer prices up year-on-year in March

Compared with March 1999, producer prices in industrial manufacturing for the same month this year grew 10.2% with the cost of power, gas, and heated water rising 14.3%.
Producer prices in industry in March grew 0.7% compared with the previous month, seeing hikes of 2.4% in the prices of the same services.
Of products from industrial manufacturing, the prices of coke, refined crude-oil products and nuclear fuels saw the highest growth (3.3%) followed by metals and finished metal products (1.1%).

SP approves updated budget for 2000

The board of directors of insurance firm Slovenská poisťovna (SP) on April 28 approved an updated budget for this year with revenues rising 2.3 billion crowns from increased insurance payments, the introduction of the obligation for working pensioners to continue paying premiums for social insurance, and a decrease of the debt of Slovak Rail (ŽSR) to SP.
The board said it was unhappy with the collection rate on its insurance payments (90.5%). This was down on the 93.5% rate between 1994 and 1998. Collection of insurance payments accounts for 99% of SP revenues.
At the end of February, SP registered total overdue sick and pension insurance payments of 43.9 billion crowns. Among the biggest SP debtors are state health care facilities, ŽSR, transformed state companies and agricultural cooperatives.
SP said it is looking to close 2000 with a surplus of 0.9 billion crowns.

Slovnaft refinery caught in the red for Q1 2000

Refining giant Slovnaft said April 29 that it had finished the first quarter of the year 302.16 million crowns in the red. It reported a non-consolidated loss of 697.06 million for the comparable period of last year.
Operating profit fell from 122.63 million crowns last year to 28.73 million crowns. Slovnaft sales, however, have doubled, going up from 6.52 billion crowns to 13.32 billion crowns.
Under IAS international accounting standards Slovnaft closed last year with a net loss of almost 2.5 billion crowns while in 1998 the company netted 76 million crowns and in 1997 1.8 billion crowns.
In late March, Hungarian oil and gas firm MOL signed an agreement on a strategic investment into Slovnaft to acquire a 36.2% stake in the Slovak company by the end of the third quarter of this year.

Ľudová banka slips on operating profit in 1999

Ľudová banka reported an operating profit of 213.5 million crowns for 1999 compared to 261 million crowns the previous year. According to its business plan, the post-tax operating profit should be 200 million crowns for 1999.
Jozef Kolár, the bank's director and chairman of the board of directors, said April 28 of the fact that assets went up 9.3% year-on-year to 22.28 billion crowns in 1999: "The bank evaluates this very positively with regard to the general development of the banking sector in Slovakia, which reported a 2.1% drop in commercial banks' total assets in connection with the restructuring of the biggest banks."
Kolár said that the bank is looking to up its volume of loans provided by 40% in 2000 dependent upon the performance of the economy and the corporate sector.

ST reports net earnings of 2.06 billion crowns

Slovak Telecom (ST) grossed 2.32 billion crowns last year, up 259 million crowns year-on-year, Pavol Bojňanský, head of ST's marketing department, said April 28.
Output sales stood at 23.63 billion crowns and expenses 21.31 billion crowns. Net profit was 2.059 billion crowns, up 1.635 billion crowns on the previous year.
In 1999, Slovak Telecom invested 4.81 billion into telecommunications infrastructure.

Nafta Gbely shareholders approve bond issue

Shareholders of gas-storage company Nafta Gbely on April 28 approved an issue of five-year bonds worth 600 million crowns with an annual interest yield of 13.9%. The bonds will be publicly tradable.

Compiled by Ed Holt
from SITA

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