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Breweries out for the count

An increase in excise duty led to breweries in Martin, Nitra and Trnava closing last year, and now three more are about to collapse, wrote the TASR news wire.

"Tax policy affects the whole sector. Three breweries that used to produce around a million hectolitres a year are closed now, and if the taxes don't go down, three others will go," warned Štefan Karšay, chairman of Slovak Association of Beer and Malt Producers.

The closure of the 3 breweries put nearly 500 people out of work, and
the same will happen in the case of the other three plants, according to Karšay.

In addition, two malt plants, in Nitra and Rimavská Sobota, have already
been closed. According to Karšay, the drop in beer sales (down by about 15
percent) caused by higher taxes is taking its toll.

The nine breweries currently in business in Slovakia will be reduced to six and,
finally, it might lead to a situation where only the strongest market players will survive. But these, too, will experience economic troubles, Karšay says.

Over the first half of 2004, the brewing industry suffered losses of Sk355
million (€8.875 million), and overall 2004 losses are projected to reach
nearly Sk500 million (€12.5 million).

Among the companies that could withstand the high-tax pressure,
are Heineken (Netherlands) which closed plants in Nitra and Martin but
is able to continue with plants in Hurbanovo and Rimavská Sobota; SAB (South
African Breweries) which has capital in the Saris brewery, and Topolcany's brewery Topvar, which has domestic capital, according to Karšay

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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