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ŽSR loses 3.9bn Sk in Jan-Aug 97

Slovak Railways' (ŽSR) losses for 1996 were not 500 million Sk as originally reported, but in fact 2.5 billion Sk ($75 million). This was the result of some 1996 costs appearing in the 1997 books, said ŽSR director Michal Lazar. However, the current loss of 3.9 billion Sk for the first eight months of 1997 should not increase further, he added. Lazar said it will take at least three to four years for the company to recover. ŽSR's current debt burden is 10.2 billion Sk, 5 billion up from last April.

Regarding ŽSR's total assets worth 59 billion Sk, it is still workable. The company's management has reevaluated the discounts it provided in freight transport. For instance, the discount for VSŽ was as high as 13 percent off the regular price, and it saved VSŽ hundreds of million s of crowns. The Transportation Ministry and ŽSR have suggested a 20 percent increase in individual transport fees starting January 1, 1998, but the government has yet to approve the measure.

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