IN SHORT

Slovakia still negotiating with Hankook

SLOVAKIA is still negotiating with South Korean tyre maker Hankook Tire on a €500 million (Sk19.4 billion) investment in a new plant near Levice (Nitra region), acting Economy Ministry spokesman Peter Papanek told the TASR news wire.

Slovakia is offering an investment stimuli package that is 70 percent lower than that previously proposed by the former economy minister, Pavol Rusko.

"The Hankook investment is still very important for Slovakia. The Slovak Investment and Trade Development Agency (SARIO) is still holding talks on this investment," Papanek added.

According to a statement from Rusko at the beginning of August, the talks with Hankook were due to be resumed in the second half of August. Slovakia was supposed to submit a new proposal for an investment contract by the end of the month.

The cabinet rejected an investment plan with the Korean investor at the beginning of July. The economic ministries (apart from Economy Minister Pavol Rusko, and Agriculture Minister Zsolt Simon) thought that the investment stimuli on offer were excessive. These amounted to 21 percent (Sk4 billion) of the proposed investment.

Hankook announced at the beginning of July that it would not accept a reduced investment stimuli package.

According to Prime Minister Mikuláš Dzurinda, Slovakia was able to provide state support to Hankook worth only 6 percent of the total investment, while the subsidy for each newly-created job should be no more than Sk1 million (€30,000).

In May, Hankook announced a plan to build a plant in Levice to produce five million tyres per year.

The investment was to create 1,600 jobs directly, and another 1,000 to 1,500 jobs indirectly.

Construction of the plant was due to start in 2006.

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