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Slovakofarma Hlohovec to pay out dividends for 1998

Slovakofarma Hlohovec will pay out 1998 dividends of 40 Slovak crowns per common share, a decrease of 180 crowns from 1997. Dividends on employee shares are 45 crowns, down 85 crowns. Slovakofarma will pay out a total of 70.8 million crowns in 1999, said CEO Ondrej Gattnar after a regular shareholders' meeting on May 13.

Last year the company paid out dividends of 220 crowns per common share.

Slovakofarma Hlohovec netted 227 million crowns in 1998. The company reported a net profit of 344 million crowns in 1997, down 169 million crowns from 1996.

The company's sales were 5.36 billion crowns in 1998, unchanged from the previous year. The company reported an increase in sales on the Slovak market of 9.2% while the Czech market reported a rise of 8.2%. The company ascribed its overall 33.7% drop in exports to other countries to economic crises worldwide.

The price of Slovakofarma's shares has fallen consistently from a peak of 4,200 crowns in August 1997. Currently, Slovakofarma is trading at 1,700 crowns per share.

The majority shareholder is S.L. Pharma Holding G.m.b.H. Wien, which owns 55.98% of Slovakofarma's total share assets. Foreign investors, represented by Bankers Trust Company in New York, hold a 22.9% stake. Employee stock/share assets account for 7.89%.

Slovakofarma Hlohovec is the largest, oldest and most important pharmaceuticals company in Slovakia, with a market share of 15%. It is one of the six largest pharmaceuticals companies in central and eastern Europe.

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