Slovakia's largest pulp and paper producer, SCP Ružomberok a.s., said on January 4 it intented to invest more than 1.6 billion Sk ($43.29 million) this year, after investment of some 3.1 billion Sk in 1998.
"SCP continues allocating sizeable investments to its main operation, to increase the quality of its production...to maintain its competitiveness with the leading European producers," the company said in a statement. SCP has a five billion Sk investment programme which includes the reconstruction of one of its paper processing machines and ecological investments.
"For the year 1999, the company's draft plan puts overall investment at more than 1.6 billion Sk," the statement said.
SCP's 1998 six-month pre-tax profit increased to 443.33 million Sk from 267.46 million in the same period of 1997. The company had said it expected several factors to prevent any significant improvement in results in the second half of the year.
"Among these (factors), the main ones have been the break in production during September...launching the operation of the steam-gas cycle plant and a slight decrease in the prices of paper on the European market," the company said.
The share of exports on the plant's production has increased significantly since the early 1990s. While exports accounted for only 27.2% of overall production in 1990, in 1997 they made up 70.4%, and in the first half of 1998 75.25%.
SCP expects total 1998 revenues of 8.0 billion Sk, after 6.66 billion Sk in 1997.
The company, which was privatised in 1996, exports mainly to western Europe-Germany, France and Italy.
The machinery investment programme is aimed at raising output by 100,000 tonnes of paper annually. Currently, SCP produces about 250,000 tonnes of paper a year. The company is 67% owned by Eco invest a.s., while Papko a.s. has 30%. Both are domestic firms.
11. Jan 1999 at 0:00 | Peter Javurek