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CORPORATE NEWS

VSŽ to pay 15 Sk gross dividend

Slovakia's largest steelmaker, VSŽ Holding, proposed to pay a gross dividend of 15 Sk per share from 1997 profits, the Bratislava Stock Exchange (BSE) said on May 7. The after-tax dividend totals 12.75 Sk, and shareholders eligible for dividend payments will have must be holders of VSŽ shares as of May 18. The company will hold its annual shareholders meeting on May 21. VSŽ said earlier this year that its audited 1997 net profit totalled 0.6 billion Sk after 1.3 billion in 1996. The company said the lower profit was due to exchange rate movements and lower prices for its products in the first half of 1997, adding that losses from currency movements last year were 700 million Sk. The company's profits in the first quarter of 1998 rose to 151 million Sk from 45 million in the first quarter last year. VSŽ is the second most-heavily weighted issue on the BSE's main listed floor, accounting for 23.6% of the overall capitalization of the official 16-share SAX index.

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