BUSINESS BRIEFS

Can ST fulfill its promises?

THE SME daily paper cited a copy it obtained of a classified privatisation contract from the 2000 sale of a 51 per cent stake in the Slovak Telecom monopoly operator to Deutsche Telekom, whose terms it said were in danger of not being met in the agreed time.

Deutsche Telekom allegedly agreed in the contract to raise the penetration of voice services through its hard lines to 45 per cent of the Slovak population by the end of 2004 (from about 30 per cent in 2000). The firm also promised to fully digitalise ST's fixed line network by the end of 2004 (up from an expected 80 per cent by the end of 2002), and to invest at least one billion euros in the development of its main activities by the end of 2003.

ST President Mark von Lillienskiold recently told journalists the firm had from 2000-2002 invested Sk17 billion of the total Sk43.5 billion promised at current exchange rates.

ST has refused to comment on the contract, calling it a business secret.

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