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BUSINESS BRIEFS

Cashing in Russian debt

THE CABINET has agreed to write off almost half of the debt Russia owes Slovakia through a cash settlement for 30 per cent of the debt figure, meaning $460 million will be written off the debt in exchange for just over $130 million in cash.

The deal, proposed by Finance Minister František Hajnovič (SDĽ), contains better terms than creditor countries have obtained from Russia in the past. The Czech Republic last year obtained 22.5 per cent of its real debt figure in a cash settlement, while Germany has received as little as 6.5 per cent.

The remaining $450 million in debt will be settled through exports from Russia to Slovakia of largely raw materials, as has been the practice in the past.

The government has been frustrated by the slow pace of debt settlement; although Russia agreed to send $137 million worth of goods to Slovakia this year, only $7 million has arrived so far.

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