Corporate Briefs

Antitrust Bureau to decide on Heineken brewery purchase
SE utility plans Eurobond issue in early 2000
Rieker shoemaker sells 1.2 billion Sk in 1999
SES Tlmače makes 55.9 million Sk gross profit in 1999
Cable maker Leoni Slowakia doubles turnover in 1999
Hoechst-Biotika profits soar ten-fold in 1999
Matador to supply 400,000 tires for Škoda in 2000

Antitrust Bureau to decide on Heineken brewery purchase

The Antitrust Bureau (PMÚ) was scheduled to release its verdict on January 19 regarding the entry of Heineken company into the Gemer and Martiner breweries of the Slovak KK Company, said PMÚ official Ján Matušký on January 17. Matušký said that in case of objections from other corporate entities or the disclosure of new facts, the 30-day term set by law for dealing with the issue could be prolonged by three months.
If the bureau issues a positive verdict, Heineken Slovensko will obtain a 51.1% stake in the KK Company brewery in Martin and a 52.5% stake in the Gemer brewery in Rimavská Sobota through a contract signed on December 16.
The Topvar and Steiger breweries have objected to the Heineken concentration. Ferdinand Neuwirth, head of the Topvar Board of Directors, predicted that Heineken's share of the Slovak market would grow to 45% once the Dutch beer maker used its total production capacities. "After this step, Heineken would also achieve a monopoly position in putting beer into cans. In our appeal against the concentration we request nothing special. According to our information, Heineken had to sell two or three breweries in Spain after achieving a 41% share on that market," Neuwirth said.

SE utility plans Eurobond issue in early 2000

Slovak power producer Slovenské Elektrárne (SE) plans to float a Eurobond issue in the first quarter of 2000, SE Director and Chairman of the Board of Directors Štefan Košovan said on January 17. He explained that the decision was based on current market conditions, which are currently more favorable than the SE expects them to be in the second quarter of this year.
In 1999, the SE generated 23.425 TWh of electric power, the most in the company's history and 84% of the total energy consumed in Slovakia.

Rieker shoemaker sells 1.2 billion Sk in 1999

Footwear company Rieker obuv of Komárno reported sales of 1.2 billion crowns for 1999, said the company's director, Jozef Robel, on January 17. Between 1993 and 1999, Rieker obuv invested almost 400 million crowns into the reconstruction of its plant in Komárno and the building of a new plant in Ilava, which launched operations in 1997.
Established in 1992, the company produces 2.2 to 2.5 million pairs of shoes annually. It is now one of the world's leading footwear companies, with a daily output of 30,000 pairs of shoes.

SES Tlmače makes 55.9 million Sk gross profit in 1999

Preliminary results indicate that the sales of Slovakia's major power engineering company, Slovenské Energetické Strojárne (SES) Tlmače, and the group of SES subsidiaries for 1999 were 5.1 billion crowns, with a pretax profit of 55.9 million crowns. In 1998, the group reported a pretax profit of 68.7 million crowns on sales of 6.9 billion crowns, the company's financial director Viliam Ondrašik said on January 17.
Ondrašik attributed the profit drop to lower revenues and losses from financial operations caused chiefly by exchange-rate losses of 62 million crowns. "In 1999, SES Tlmače had to cope with an unbalanced use of its capacities and a delay in payments for deliveries, which had negative impacts on the company's 1999 results and will probably influence the company's results in 2000," Ondrašik said.

Cable maker Leoni Slowakia doubles turnover in 1999

Cable maker Leoni Slowakia more than doubled its turnover in 1999 with an increase from 463 million crowns in 1998 to one billion crowns in 1999, said Jaroslava Remšiková, deputy director for economics, on January 14.
Leoni Slowakia is an affiliate of the German Leoni AG Nuremberg. At the end of 1999, it employed 900 people, a more than 63% growth in emplyment compared with the previous year. The company exports 97% of its production.
The company's Dobra plant produces conductors and cables for the electrical engineering industry. The most significant customers are Phillips, IBM, Bosch, Siemens, Dell, Miele, and Vorwerk. It has also its own development department and has filed development orders for companies in Germany, Japan, and Canada.

Hoechst-Biotika profits soar ten-fold in 1999

Hoechst-Biotika, a pharmaceuticals company based in Martin, improved its profit ten-fold in 1999. Preliminary results indicate that the company closed 1999 with a pre-tax profit of 55 million crowns, compared to 5 million crowns in 1998. Daniel Krchnavý, economics director of Hoechst-Biotika, said on January 13 that higher sales in the Czech Republic were behind the significant improvement. Concerning export activities, the weaker Slovak currency in the first half of 1999 also considerably contributed to the company's profit. Turnover for 1999 increased 22% to 1.06 billion crowns compared with 1998.

Matador to supply 400,000 tires for Škoda in 2000

Test rides in Škoda cars with winter tires by tiremaker Matador took place in the Austrian city of Teesdorf between January 11 and 13. Slovak race driver Jirko Malcharek, who attended the test rides, said the tests confirmed that the quality of Matador tires matches the tires of renowned world companies.
Matador Director Alexander Rosina announced that the tiremaker will supply 400,000 tires for passenger cars and small commercial vehicles to the Czech carmaker in the coming year. The tires will be used especially for the Felicia and Octavia cars, as well as for the new Fabia model. Matador plans to produce 4.5 million tires for passenger and small commercial cars in 2000, up 600,000 pieces compared with 1999.
Preliminary results for 1999 indicate that Matador's sales amounted to 8.5 billion crowns and its pre-tax profit was 233 million crowns. The Matador group ended 1998 with consolidated losses of 61.2 million crowns.

Compiled by Keith Miller
from SITA and Reuters

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