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CORPORATE BRIEFS

VSŽ boss Eichler discusses possible foreign investor

Gabriel Eichler, the president of eastern Slovak steel giant VSŽ Košice, announced on November 4 that the entry of a foreign investor into the company would not likely be accomplished by the end of this year. Eichler blamed the delay on certain VSŽ shareholders who had participated in a special VSŽ shareholders' meeting in September.

The VSŽ President added that US Steel currently has the inside track among potential investors.

Addressing the financial troubles which have recently beset the firm, Eichler said that one way of settling the problems could be to increase the amount of VSŽ share assets offered to a foreign investor. "This way of activating the production sector is common in the business world," he said.

Another option, Eichler explained, would be to establish a new company which would be free of the bad debts VSŽ has racked up. "In such a case there are two alternatives," he explained. "VSŽ Ocel would be detached from the VSŽ group and would join other companies, or VSŽ would remain and other companies would be attached to it."

A newly created company would take over all of VSŽ's assets and liabilities. The process, however, would require approval by creditor banks.

Eichler said this alternative created some possible complications. For one, he said, VSŽ would have to re-negotiate many of its existing contracts so that the new company could take over.

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