Shipbuilder lost 277 million Sk from blocked Danube

The direct losses of Slovak shipbuilder SLK Komárno, caused by the bombing of bridges over the Danube River waterway during the Kosovo conflict, currently stand at 277 million Slovak crowns ($6.8 million). With the bombed bridges obstructing pasage on the river, it is impossible for SLK to deliver ships to its downriver customers, meaning that the firm has had to reduce its production plan from 14 to 10 vessels this year.

SLK will also have to dismiss 68 employees by the end of October, of whom 14 will take early retirement. In September, SLK released 76 workers, whom it plans to hire back in the second half of next year after the situation improves.

Despite the SLK's failure to acquire the Bulgarian shipbuilder in Ruse, the company is still interested in buying production capacities on the lower part of the Danube, which would eliminate the disadvantages of SLK's inland location. The size of the sea-going cargo ships currently manufactured at SLK do not enable their transport upstream on the Danube-Main-Rhine channel.

At midyear, SLK employed about 2,600 people, while another 800 worked at its subsidiaries. The company ended 1H99 with a profit of 11 million crowns.

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