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Hankook will reopen negotiations with other countries

KOREAN tyre maker Hankook Tire notified the Economy Ministry that it will renew negotiations with other countries on placing its new Central European plant, a source close to the Economy Ministry told the SITA news wire.

Slovakia lost its exclusivity on negotiations a week after a July 6 cabinet meeting in which the cabinet refused to approve the incentives the tyre maker had asked for.

However, Hankook is still willing to invest in Slovakia, but only under the conditions Hankook vice-president Young Soo Woo set out to Slovak Prime Minister Mikuláš Dzurinda on July 8, SITA reported.

"The South Korean company said that it is willing to go down from the originally proposed 21 percent state assistance to 19 percent of the total investment, while direct financial assistance should amount to 13 percent. Hankook will make no further concessions," added the source, who is close to the investment project.

Economy Ministry spokesman Maroš Havran confirmed that the ministry received a letter from Hankook. However, he said that the Korean company wished to keep the content of the letter confidential.

Prime Minister Mikuláš Dzurinda said that 6 percent of the total investment and Sk1 million (€25,700) per created job is the maximum the country would pay.

Economy Minister Pavol Rusko proposed state assistance of 10 percent and a subsidy for the creation of one job at about Sk2 million (€51,400).

Hankook Tire was planning to invest €500 million in the southern Slovak town of Levice, in a plant with the capacity to produce 5 million tyres annually.

Compiled by Beata Balogová from press reports
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