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Slovakia woos South Korean tyre company

SLOVAKIA, Poland, and Hungary are the hottest candidates for an investment in Central Europe from the largest South Korean tyre company, Hankook Tire.

The company intends to increase its influence in European markets, especially with regard to its largest clients from the automotive sector, which have located their plants in the region, the SITA news agency reported.

The Slovak Investment and Trade Development Agency (SARIO) is pursuing the investment, SARIO spokesman Ondrej Žember confirmed to SITA.

However, since a confidentiality agreement was signed on talks with the investor, Žember cannot make public any of the details..

Poland has confirmed that the Hankook investment is linked to the construction of a plant for over $500 million (€385 million).

The Polish side pointed out in its bid that Korean carmaker Hyundai/KIA, which selected Slovakia for its new assembly plant, is facing certain problems.

"Our bid is realistic," said Sebastian Mikosz from the Polish Agency for Information and Foreign Investments (PAIiIZ).

Poland could also offer state aid to the Korean investor. The upper limit of state aid in the form of investment incentives in the automotive industry is 12 percent of the investment, said the Polish Economy Ministry. This means that Hankook could gain €46 million from the Polish government.

Slovak Economy Minister Pavol Rusko announced in January that the government is in talks with an unnamed South Korean investor who is set to invest €500 million in Central Europe. However, he did not specify whether it was Hankook.

Hankook will probably create about 2,000 jobs in its new central European plant, although information on the planned investment volume varies.

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