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Hankook case not closed

AFTER THE Slovak government’s failure to approve investment incentives for the Korean tyre producer Hankook Tire on July 6, the company has responded by lowering the level of state assistance required for its possible investment by SK380 million (€9.79 million), the Pravda daily reported.

However, the investment would still be more costly to the state than either the PSA Peugeot Citroen or the KIA/Hyundai investments.

Young Soo Woo, vice-president of Hankook met with Slovak Prime Minister Mikuláš Dzurinda and offered to decrease the demand for state assistance 21 percent to 19 percent of the volume of investment.

According to Economy Minister Pavol Rusko, the investment is definitely lost: "He [Dzurinda] told me that, based on the conditions we [the Slovak government] could agree with. The state assistance would have to drop 6 percent from 21 percent," Rusko said in a discussion on Slovak Radio and added that Hankook's vice-president feels offended by such an approach.

Nevertheless, Dzurinda said: "I can, for sure, say the issue is not closed. The Korean side has offered [to take] some steps towards us. We just have to think about them and calculate it," Dzurinda said in the discussion.

Slovakia’s exclusivity on negotiations with Hankook will end this week. However, Rusko wrote to Hankook representatives asking them to postpone negotiations until August.

The original level of state assistance to Hankook proposed was Sk4.2 billion (€110 million). A decision not to approve the incentives has deepened conflicts in the ruling coalition. The New Citizen's Alliance (ANO), led by Economy Minister Rusko, even threatened to leave the coalition.

Compiled by Marta Ďurianová from press reports
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