CORPORATE BRIEFS

IRB loss under NBS caretaker administration hits 4.5 billion Sk in 1998

Investičná a Rozvojová Banka (Investment and Development Bank - IRB), once Slovakia's third largest bank, reported a loss of 4.516 billion crowns for 1998, bringing the bank's cumulative losses to 7.766 billion crowns.

IRB's total assets dropped from 41.931 billion crowns in 1997 to 37.797 billion crowns at the end of last year. Its loans amount to 30.942 billion crowns, making their share on assets 92.4% p.a.

No progress has been reported in the government's plans to sell the ill-fated IRB before the end of 1999. The IRB has been under a caretaker administration imposed by the National Bank of Slovakia (NBS) since December 19, 1997, after it ran into serious liquidity problems.

Before the bank can be sold, the state must find enough money to cover losses from soft loans the bank extended to fund housing construction and the completion of the Mochovce nuclear power plant. It must also find a suitable mechanism for the state to share the financial costs involved in the IRB's consolidation.

State-owned insurer Slovenská Poisťovňa (SP) increased the IRB's share assets in 1998 by

2 billion crowns to 3 billion crowns, giving the insurance house a 66% stake in the bank. The FNM state privatisation agency holds another 11.7% of IRB.

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