CORPORATE BRIEFS

ZSNP aluminum works cuts losses to 153 million crowns

Aluminum works ZSNP, in central Slovakia's Žiar nad Hronom, reported losses of 153.88 million Slovak crowns ($3.7 million) in the first half of the year, an improvement on the 234 million crowns the firm lost during the same period last year.

Losses from financial operations totaling 194 million crowns were primarily responsible for the negative results.

ZSNP managed to close ineffective production units this year and start production of castings for the automotive industry, which will be exported to Germany. However, with assets of 11.2 billion crowns and loans totaling over 4.256 billion crowns (for a debt/equity ratio of 96.5% and a debt/assets ratio of 54.6%) ZSNP is still far from healthy. The firm has claims over 1.84 billion, of which 40% are overdue.

Furthermore, the decision of the FNM state privatisation agency in August to withdraw from the privatization contract it signed with the ZSNP during the reign of former Prime Minister Vladimír Mečiar may negatively influence ZSNP in its negotiations with financial institutions as well as with foreign investors.

In cooperation with foreign partners, the company's management is planning to establish a joint-venture for the production of castings and aluminum disks.

ZSNP is the parent of a 12-member group of companies including Sandrik, Alufinal and Slovalco. The parent company reported losses of nearly 905 million crowns in 1998, while the whole group posted consolidated losses of 1.17 billion crowns - 42.7% up on 1997.

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