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IN SHORT

NCHZ gets green light on Solivary merger

AFTER NEARLY five months of deliberations, the Slovak Antimonopoly Office (PMÚ) has approved the merger of salt producer Solivary Prešov and chemicals maker Novacké Chemické Zavody (NCHZ), Solivary's sole customer.

Although Solivary has access to the only salt deposits in Slovakia, PMÚ officials decided that with duty-free imports of industrial salt and no need for certification there was no danger of monopoly control of the industrial salt market.

Following the spring entry of Canadian petrochemical company Exall and Slovak investment fund 1. Garantovaná into NCHZ, the chemicals firm bought an 85-per cent stake in Solivary in May, and announced merger plans a month later.

Ties with NCHZ led Solivary to profits of Sk313 million ($7.1 million) in 2001, following a Sk130 million loss in 2000.

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