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Government to swallow railway debt

THE SLOVAK government has announced plans to take over debts totalling Sk21 billion (€505 million) from the country's ŽSR and ZSSK railway companies from January 2004.

According to Transport Ministry officials, the decision is not a settlement of the debts, but a transfer of the liabilities to the overall state debt.

Besides absorbing the struggling railway companies' debts, the government will subsidise company investments by Sk2.5 billion (€60 million) next year, said Transport Minister Pavol Prokopovič on July 2.

Prokopovič added that debts from ŽSR and ZSSK should be settled by 2010.

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