Vladimír Repčák, 55, was appointed Chairman of the Board of Directors at the eastern Slovak steel maker VSŽ on June 7. Formerly VSŽ Vice President for Finance, Repčák also served more than 14 years with metallurgy firm ZVL Prešov.
The Slovak Spectator spoke with Repčák on June 9 about his recent appointment.
The Slovak Spectator (TSS): What were the results of the latest (June 6) government talks on VSŽ?
Vladimír Repčák (VR): I don't want to comment, because there is an unwritten rule at VSŽ not to comment on what government officials say about the company. We bear in mind the previous consequences that came from responding to government comments. As far as my election as the Chairman of the Board of Directors is concerned, it was the decision of the Board of Directors, and that's why the Board of Directors together with shareholders should be the ones to evaluate it and comment on it.
TSS: What is the current economic situation at VSŽ?
VR: As far as the economic situation is concerned, there has been a fundamental, positive reversal since April. However, I am stressing the economic situation, not the financial situation. It is really necessary to differentiate between these two terms.
TSS: In what sense?
VR: Economic measures have already started to take effect - the way that capital flowed out through various channels during the past few years has been stopped. This means that the company is in the process of economic consolidation, but it doesn't mean that everything is all right. To really get VSŽ out of trouble we have to solve our financial situation and relations with our creditors. But this [economic result] is the first positive information so far.
TSS: How are your negotiations with a foreign investor proceeding?
VR: We are interested in an investor, but we don't want to mention any names. There are also other options but this is the easiest solution so far. You know that there are other companies like Slovnaft, similar to VSŽ as far as their assets and volume of output per year are concerned, that are trying to achieve the same thing [attracting a foreign investor]. Since the process of bank privatisation in Slovakia hasn't started yet, there isn't enough capital for financing the immediate needs of industrial companies. The only way how to finance these needs is by the entrance of foreign capital.