November: The top business stories of 2011

Consortium signs highway contract. Slovakia’s National Highway Company signs a contract with the Doprastav-Strabag consortium for construction of an 11.2-kilometre stretch of the D1 highway between Fričovce and Svinia in Prešov Region. Doprastav-Strabag wins the state tender with a €114.6-million bid after the Hant company is excluded from the competition.

Consortium signs highway contract. Slovakia’s National Highway Company signs a contract with the Doprastav-Strabag consortium for construction of an 11.2-kilometre stretch of the D1 highway between Fričovce and Svinia in Prešov Region. Doprastav-Strabag wins the state tender with a €114.6-million bid after the Hant company is excluded from the competition.

Parliament approves bank levy. Commercial banks operating in Slovakia will start paying a special levy set at 0.4 percent of a certain amount of their liabilities to a state financial assets account that should amass about €80 million in 2012.

Passenger rail fares go up. Železničná Spoločnosť Slovensko (ZSSK), Slovakia’s passenger railway company, increases fares by an average of almost 10 percent on November 1, reflecting the carrier’s increased costs, inflation and the higher VAT rate.

Bratislava ranks poorly for business. The Slovak capital was ranked 32nd among 36 European cities in an assessment made by Cushman & Wakefield’s European Cities Monitor 2011 for ease of doing business in the city. Bratislava was worse than other regional cities in the survey, as Warsaw finished 21st, Prague 25th, Bucharest 27th and Budapest 29th, while Oslo, Rome, Moscow and Athens were ranked worse than Bratislava.

GTS Slovakia opens data centre. GTS Slovakia unveils its new data centre in Bratislava with over 3,000 square metres of space, including two server halls occupying 1,100 square metres. Though GTS Slovakia did not reveal exact costs it did say it was its largest investment in 2011. GTS Slovakia had previously provided data services from rented premises and a data centre it acquired via its purchase of Dial Telekom in 2010.

FlexMedical firm leaves Vráble. An important employer in Nitra Region that produces medical supplies announces it is leaving Slovakia and will move all production to Romania by June 2012, resulting in the loss of 250 jobs in Vráble.

Slovak firms head for Silicon Valley. Four Slovak companies – Studentive, Monogram, Nicereplay and WorkInField – receive a chance to gain recognition in Silicon Valley after being selected for a three-month programme at the Plug-and-Play technological centre in California.

Samsung promises to stay in Slovakia. Korean-based Samsung promises to maintain its production facility in Galanta after rumours surface that the work may be moved to Romania and the company requests €28 million in tax relief from the Slovak government. The company says it plans a €90 million project to modernise its Galanta plant that will employ 1,000 additional people. Samsung currently employs more than 2,000 people in Galanta and over 4,500 people across Slovakia.

Eustream completes reverse gas flow project. Eustream, a subsidiary of Slovakia’s primary gas utility, SPP, completes a project that enables natural gas to be pumped west-to-east in a standard operating mode. The project was initiated in January 2009 after natural gas supplies flowing from Russia to Slovakia were completely halted because of a dispute between Ukraine and Russia.

State doles out investment aid. The government approves investment support for nine foreign investors (Secop, Aspel Slovakia, Plastiflex Slovakia, Celltex Hygiene, Behr Slovakia, Gallai & Wolff, Johnson Controls, Continental Matador Rubber and Sungwoo Hitech Slovakia) which are expected to create 1,500 new jobs to Slovakia. The companies will receive €45.8 million in tax breaks and state assistance and are expected to invest €245 million. The assistance offered to Austrian firm Gallai & Wolff prompts objections from a domestic company thatsays the state support would harm its business.

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