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ECONOMIC BRIEFS

State moves forward to an attempt to sell off troubled IRB

Four potential investors will analyse the current situation of Investičná a Rozvojová Banka (IRB-Investment and Development Bank) between May 3 and May 25 and will then have two weeks to make a decision about purchasing a stake in the ill-fated bank, the National Bank of Slovakia's administrator of the IRB Vladimír Hromýannounced in late April.

The Ministry is trying to move forward with negotiations on the entry of an investor into the IRB, which has been under the forced administration of the National Bank of Slovakia (NBS) since December 1997. The negotiations could start as early as June 30, Hromý said.

The IRB ran into serious liquidity problems in late 1997, and today the cumulative losses of the IRB total 7 billion crowns. Last year's losses alone equal 762 million crowns. The bank had losses of 245 million crowns during the first four months in 1999.

Under any deal, the classified loans of IRB would be transferred to state-bank Konsolidačna Banka, a bank established to administer soft loans to agricultural cooperatives and engineering projects under Communism. Hromý said that the bank has inherited more than one-third of all its classified loans from the period before 1990.

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