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British daily says Rover picks Poland; SARIO denies it

THE BRITISH carmaker MG Rover is said to have already decided to place its €1.1 billion investment in Poland, the British daily Birmingham Post reported.

According to the daily, MG Rover has already presented the Polish government with its business plan related to the project, which Slovakia would also like to see in the Košice region, the news wire TASR reported.

The contract, which includes Rover’s takeover of the former Daewoo-FSO production plant near Warsaw, would allegedly be signed in mid June and production would start in May 2005.

But according to another UK daily, Evening Mail, Rover spokeswoman Suzanne Bartch has refused to confirm Poland’s selection. "It is a very complex matter which is unlikely to be resolved quickly. Negotiations over the Daewoo-FSO are ongoing," the daily quoted Bartch as saying in its online edition.

Ján Bajánek, director of the Slovak Investment and Trade Development Agency, has no conformation that Poland has landed the MR Rover investment, according to TASR.

But he said that Slovakia's northern neighbour's victory might be possible, since Slovakia only recently landed a major factory investment by South Korean company Kia Motors, to be built at a site near Žilina, in northern Slovakia.

Bajánek said that, besides MG Rover, Slovakia was currently holding talks with another three major car producers, including Japan's Mazda and Honda and an unnamed North American company.

In his opinion, Slovakia would be able to handle one or two more major investors in the automotive industry, in addition to Kia Motors and Volkswagen Slovakia, which has had a plant near Bratislava since the early 1990s, the French PSA Peugeot-Citroen is constructing a plant near the western regional city Trnava. Both PSA and Kia decided on Slovakia over Poland in shortlist showdowns.

"The domestic supplier and sub-supplier structure is still able to handle a higher number of car producers," Bajanek said.

Compiled by Beata Balogová from press reports
The Slovak Spectator cannot vouch for the accuracy of the information presented in its Flash News postings.

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