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FOUR NEW INDUSTRIAL PARKS HAVE SUBSTANTIAL INVESTMENT PROMISES IN PLACE - AND THEY ARE WAITING FOR MORE

Parks revving for business

THREE industrial parks in Eastern Slovakia and one in the western part of the country will get financial support from the EU and the Slovak state for their establishment and development.
European Union funds and the Economy Ministry will give an overall Sk489.8 million (€12.84 million) for new industrial parks in Javorinská (part of the town of Myjava, Western Slovakia) and Matejovce (part of Poprad town), Trebišov and Snina in Eastern Slovakia.

THREE industrial parks in Eastern Slovakia and one in the western part of the country will get financial support from the EU and the Slovak state for their establishment and development.

European Union funds and the Economy Ministry will give an overall Sk489.8 million (€12.84 million) for new industrial parks in Javorinská (part of the town of Myjava, Western Slovakia) and Matejovce (part of Poprad town), Trebišov and Snina in Eastern Slovakia.

Economy Minister Pavol Rusko told the press that the volume of finances is approximately equal to the sums that individual towns asked for. The EU will cover 70 percent of the costs for the parks' construction, 25 percent will be paid from the Slovak state budget and 5 percent has to be covered by the municipality or an investor.

The Economy Ministry registered 7 applications for potential industrial parks. However, only four of them were successful in gaining funds. "Three projects were not of a sufficient quality. It reflected insufficient preparation by these towns and cities," the minister said. He was referring to proposed industrial parks for Michalovce, Hlohovec, and Jaklovce.

According to Rusko, the level of potential investment was the most important criterion in evaluating the proposals and their chance of getting the money. He said all four of the successful applications had investors already bound by contract. So far, some 12 to 16 companies are lined up for the parks. The final number depends on further talks.

Rusko pointed out that the investors should create about 6,000 to 8,000 jobs once the parks are up and running. This will be a significant step in fighting the regions' high unemployment.

Municipalities put in for funding following the ministry's call for applications.

The ministry is planning to launch another call at the end of this month or at the beginning of March. The minister added that the unsuccessful candidates from the previous round are welcome to reapply.

Towns that were granted financial support appreciate the decision and expect that the industrial parks will contribute to the overall development of the regions, as well as help fight high unemployment.

The deputy mayor of Trebišov, Pavol Flaugnatti, told The Slovak Spectator its industrial park will be spread across 10 to 15 hectares, on an area formerly occupied by a canning factory. The city obtained EU and state support of Sk228 million (€5.98 million). The money will be used mainly to build infrastructure.

So far, the Trebišov park has signed agreements with five future investors. That represents an investment total of an extra [in addition to the EU and state investments] Sk150 million (€6.55 million). The five investors cover 35 percent of the park's land and the town is open to other investors.

The companies will operate in fields such as the manufacture of wood for the furniture industry, briquettes for fireplaces, and natural-based fertilizers. They will also process industrial waste for the cosmetics industry. One foreign-owned foundry company that is currently based in Poprad will move to the Trebišov park.

Flaugnatti expects that production in Trebišov park will start in 2007. The five companies will create an initial 200 to 250 jobs.

Svätoslav Husták, chairman of the board of representatives of the Snina Industrial Park Association, told the Spectator that their industrial park will cover an area of approximately 110,000 hectares.

Investors in Snina will put in a total Sk100 million (€2.62 million) in additional investments and create about 100 working positions at the initial investment stage. Snina has so far signed memorandums with firms such as Del Casting, Mops Slovakia and is in talks with two others. The companies in the park so far are mainly allied to the machinery and metallurgy industries.

Poprad will get Sk157 million (€4.11 million) from EU and state resources for the industrial park located in one part of the town, Matejovce. Anton Danko, the mayor of Poprad said: "I am pleased with the decision. For our inhabitants it will mean an increase in jobs."

The industrial park in Matejovce will be built on an area of 32 hectares, though at the initial stage it will only cover 8.6 hectares. The town has concluded preparatory agreements with three companies: Brantner and REPP, both from Poprad, and LPH, from Vranov nad Topľou.

The town has now to decide on the form of administrating the park. It will either establish a firm fully owned by the town or it will pass everything over to a company, which will invest in and develop, as well as administer, the park.

The industrial park in Myjava, at Javorinská, will spread over 16 hectares. So far, six investors have agreed to establish their production there, creating an initial 250 jobs. Myjava asked for Sk77.5 million (€2.03 million) in support. Companies will invest an additional Sk132 million (€3.46 million).

40 percent of the park's area is already spoken for. It should be operating in 2007. Some companies, such as CEP Schredel Pružiny, Myjavská obchodná agentúra (Myjava commercial agency), and Slovarm may even start operating there in 2005. Myjava town authorities are in talks with other potential investors.

The industrial park will concentrate on light machinery, storage facilities and production services.

Last year the Economy Ministry made support and construction of industrial parks a priority. Pavol Rusko said in October 2004 that 12 industrial parks would be built in 2005.

Rusko named 2005 as "the year of industrial park development".

The Economy Ministry and Slovak officials are trying to attract investors to mainly Eastern Slovakia, which suffers the highest rate of unemployment. However, investors are expected also in the regions of Banská Bystrica and Nitra.

Michal Sýkora, the head of the Association of Towns and Cities, admitted that EU funds could speed up the creation of industrial parks in Slovakia but noted that the country's unfinished highway network often discouraged investors from coming to this Central European state.

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