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Business and economics roundup

November 2 - The Slovak Telecommunications Office orders the dominant fixed line operator Slovak Telecom to stop bundling its services. Starting January 1, 2006, ST will not be allowed to offer its customers broadband Internet access on the condition that they also subscribe to the company's voice service.

November 2- The Slovak Telecommunications Office orders the dominant fixed line operator Slovak Telecom to stop bundling its services. Starting January 1, 2006, ST will not be allowed to offer its customers broadband Internet access on the condition that they also subscribe to the company's voice service.

November 3 - Economy Minister Jirko Malchárek admits that Slovakia will not complete the privatization of Slovak power producer Slovenské elektrárne by the end of 2005 as planned.

November 3 - The new PSA Peugeot Citroen plant in Trnava launches a trial run of its production units. The goal is to test the processes that it will apply to the serial production of cars.

November 4- The cabinet appoints the former director of Volkswagen Slovakia, Jozef Uhrík, as the economy minister's plenipotentiary for the coordination of the automotive industry in Slovakia.

November 7 - The most visited Slovak job server, www.profesia.sk, announces that it was bought by British Daily Mail and General Trust (DMGT) through Lapcom, a Hungarian representation of Northcliffe International, which is a division of the DMGT. The companies signed the contract on October 28.

November 8 - German foundry company Silbitz Guss acquired the Slovak firm VSŽ Foundry, which is based in Košice. The Penta Group announced the deal. The Penta Group is the decisive shareholder in Slovenský Investičný Holding, which is the former owner of VSŽ Foundry.

November 9 - US Steel Košice says it is "extremely disappointed" with the European Commission's recent plan to further cut the CO2 quotas for Slovakia by another 1.5 million tonnes per year. US Steel labelled the cuts an attempt to stifle growth.

November 9 - The Slovak cabinet approves so-called fixed pricing for highway and first-category road construction projects to prevent construction firms from increasing prices during the course of construction. Prices can only increase if the company fails to complete the project because of obstacles caused by the procurer.

November 9 - Austrian Immoconsult Leasinggesellschaft and an Israeli developer called Elran bought 88 hectares of plots in the Bratislava-Vajnory airport area. The companies plan to invest €700 million in a new real estate complex.

November 10- The Finance Ministry presented its draft revision to a banking law that should extend a banking institution's duty to inform their clients of banking fees and services. The revision, if approved by parliament, would take effect in March 2006.

November 14 - In its updated prognosis for 2005 to 2008, the Finance Ministry said that the country's GDP should grow 5.4 percent on average. "The growth rate is sustainable; it reflects qualitative changes in the economy, the growth of labour productivity and capital, and increases in potential products and competitiveness," stated the ministry.

November 14 - Social insurance provider Sociálna poisťovňa collected Sk1.5 billion (€395 billion) in late insurance payments thanks to a general pardon. The total volume of pardoned late charges and penalties reached Sk629 million (€16.5 million).

November 14 - Irish low-cost airline Ryanair asks Slovak Prime Minister Mikuláš Dzurinda and Transport Minister Pavol Prokopovič to reject Vienna International Airport's bid for the privatization of the Slovak airports in Bratislava and Košice. According to Ryanair, Bratislava airport has already taken away a significant number of passengers from Vienna International Airport. Consequently, the Vienna airport might be interested in taking over the airport in Bratislava to get rid of its competition.

November 15 - The Slovak economy grew 6.2 percent in the third quarter of 2005 according to the flash estimate of the national statistical office. The GDP reached Sk365.5 billion (€9.65 billion) according to the estimate. Finance Minister Ivan Mikloš says the data confirms that the reforms implemented in the country were correct. "This is clear evidence that the cabinet's economic policy creates conditions for a fast and sustainable economic growth," he said.

November 16 - A commission announces that the deadline for submitting final bids for the 66-percent stake in the Bratislava and Košice airports will be pushed back from the original November 21 date to the beginning of December.

November 21 - According to data released by the Slovak Investment and Trade Development Agency (SARIO), 28 foreign investment projects were managed since January to September 2005. The value of their investments exceeds €139 million. The investors should create between 3,885 and 5,382 jobs.

November 22 - The Slovak antitrust authority (PMÚ) launches proceedings against oil refinery Slovnaft over a possible violation of the law on the protection of economic competition. The PMÚ pledges to examine the company's petrol and diesel pricing policy within the proceedings.

November 22 - Samsung Electronics Slovakia starts building a logistics and distribution centre for Central and Western Europe in the western Slovak town of Galanta.

November 23 - The Slovak Tax Directorate publishes a list of tax debtors as of December 31, 2004. The sum of outstanding taxes for corporate entities reached Sk32.1 billion (€845 million). Those of individuals reached Sk9.8 billion (€258 million).

November 26 - Slovakia links the crown to the euro and joins the European exchange rate mechanism ERM II, the "waiting room" for euro adoption. The central parity was set at SKK38.4550 to one euro. During its stay in ERM II, the crown can fluctuate 15 percent around the central parity.

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