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CORPORATE BRIEFS

Matador reports preliminary 1998 gross profit of 214 million Sk

Slovakia's only tire maker, Matador Puchov, reported a preliminary gross profit of 214 million Sk ($5.35 million) on sales of 7.1 billion Sk in 1998: the figure was well up on 1997's total net of 68.8 million Sk. Exports accounted for 5.7 billion Sk.

In 1998 Matador invested 228.2 million Sk into modernization, Jozef Kapec of Matador's press department said on February 18.

"The strategy of the company this year is aimed at product innovation, cost reduction, and improvements in productivity and flexibility of production and distribution systems," Kapec said. Matador projects sales of 8.01 billion Sk for 1999 while exports should reach 6.1 billion Sk.

The year 1999 is Matador's first in joint venture with the German firm Continental. The venture, known as Continental-Matador, was formed out of Matador's truck tire division, which has an annual turnover of 2.5 billion Sk. The tires produced by the joint venture will be divided according to the stakes owned by the founding companies.

Matador controls 24% in the new venture, while 76% is in the hands of Continental. Considering projected output of 2 million tires annually after 2001, this would mean 0.5 million tires for Matador and 1.5 million pieces for Continental. Tires will be sold under the brand name of a distributing company.

The 1999 turnover of the Continental-Matador joint venture is expected to be 150 million DEM (over 3 billion Sk), which should rise to 350 million DEM (over 7 billion Sk) by 2003.

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