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September: The top business stories of 2011

SARIO signs investment agreements. The Slovak Investment and Trade Development Agency (SARIO) seals agreements worth €259.5 million in investment in the first half of 2011, which could lead to 1,500 new jobs, much more than the eight investments valued at €35.22 million with the potential to create 500 new jobs signed in the same period in 2010. Most of the 2011 investments are in some part of the automotive industry.

Nafta expanded its gas storage capacities.(Source: Jana Liptáková)

SARIO signs investment agreements. The Slovak Investment and Trade Development Agency (SARIO) seals agreements worth €259.5 million in investment in the first half of 2011, which could lead to 1,500 new jobs, much more than the eight investments valued at €35.22 million with the potential to create 500 new jobs signed in the same period in 2010. Most of the 2011 investments are in some part of the automotive industry.

Parliament approves UNITAS. A long-awaited system to bring collection of taxes, customs duties and mandatory payroll levies under one state administrative body makes a leap forward as parliament adopts a trio of laws prepared by the Finance Ministry that authorise additional steps in the UNITAS programme. UNITAS, which is supposed to make this part of public administration less bureaucratic and more efficient, was unveiled during the government of Robert Fico and the current government continued to move it forward.

Slovaks use less illegal software. The use of illegal software in Slovakia declined for the last three years and in 2010 the piracy rate dropped by one percentage point to 42 percent, the global average, according to the Business Software Alliance – which also noted that producers of software lost €48 million in sales in Slovakia in 2010.

Labour Code changes take effect. Numerous changes in the labour law come into force and are viewed by employers as making working relationships more flexible; trade unions say employers will use the changes to fire employees rather than hire new ones. The changes include: cancellation of parallel entitlement to a layoff notice period and severance pay; longer periods for fixed-term employment; a longer layoff notification period for employees with long service in the same job; and greater protection for mothers and pregnant women, among others.

Kia Motors starts making more engines. A €100 million investment boosts the production capacity of the Kia plant in Teplička nad Váhom from 300,000 to 450,000 engines per year, with 270 new jobs. The company also begins hiring 1,000 new employees for production of new KIA models and the start of three shifts per day in the first quarter of 2012.

Eset releases generation 5 software. The globally-known Slovak IT company, Eset, releases its fifth-generation flagship security software products, Smart Security 5 and NOD32 Antivirus 5, which offer more advanced threat-detection technology and multi-layered security features.

Second pension pillar changes again. Parliament passes a government-proposed amendment to Slovakia’s pension system on September 14 that increases the number of investment funds savers can choose from, eliminates certain guarantees and requires new employees (school-leavers) to automatically join the second pillar pension system, with an option to withdraw within two years.

Nafta finishes second phase for gas storage. Nafta, Slovakia’s leading gas-storage company completes the second, most important phase of its new gas storage facility near the villages of Láb and Gajary in Bratislava Region. The €166 million Gajary-Báden project will increase Nafta’s gas storage capacities to 2.5 billion cubic metres by 2014.


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