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CORPORATE BRIEFS

Vagónka Poprad and US Steel interested in acquiring Martinmetal

Economy Minister Ľudovít Černák met with the managements of two troubled mid-sized Slovak firms - machinery firm Martinmetal of northern Slovakia's Martin and TV manufacturer OTF from the western Slovak town of Nižna - along with trade union representatives on May 11 to discuss the dire situation at these companies.

Peter Janíček, deputy director of the Kovo trade union, explained that the meetings had been called to analyse the steps the firms' managements have taken to save their companies. The new management of Martinmetal, he said, has devised a scheme that will save 600 jobs on condition that a contract be signed for the production of armaments for India.

Martinmetal belongs to an ill-fated group of firms in northern Slovakia that never made a successful transition from communist era arms production to heavy manufacturing.

For the time being, Martinmetal has a contract with the Ukraine to supply engineering goods, and the establishment of a joint venture is under negotiation. Some domestic and foreign companies, including US Steel and Vagónka Poprad, have showed interest in acquiring Martinmetal.

Representatives of OTF company, which has been facing problems in distributing its products, won a promise from the Economy Ministry of support during negotiations with banks and foreign partners. If these talks fail, OTF will have to lay off 300 people.

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