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BMW denies Slovak investment plans

UPMARKET German car producer BMW will not build a new factory in Slovakia, according to company spokesman Mathias Schmidt. He was responding to week-long media speculation about the possibility that Slovakia might get a fourth car assembly plant, the Reuters newswire wrote.

UPMARKET German car producer BMW will not build a new factory in Slovakia, according to company spokesman Mathias Schmidt. He was responding to week-long media speculation about the possibility that Slovakia might get a fourth car assembly plant, the Reuters newswire wrote.

Slovak media had written that the new factory could be built in an industrial park near the village of Kechnec in south-eastern Slovakia. Schmidt described the reports as untrue.

Talks between the Slovak Embassy in Germany and a new investor were confirmed by Foreign Affairs Minister Miroslav Lajčák, according to TV Markíza. The station reported the minister as saying that the embassy was providing information to the carmaker; it added that the investment could bring 10,000 new jobs, including those created by suppliers, to a region which has been struggling with high unemployment.

The financial daily Hospodárske Noviny, citing “well informed sources”, reported on May 2 that BMW had requested state aid worth €500 million, which the daily wrote would have been one of the largest aid packages ever awarded by Slovakia. Stanislav Jurkovič, the Economy Ministry spokesperson, told the daily that the ministry had not received any official request to discuss a potential investment stimulus.

The daily also wrote that negotiations were at an initial stage and it is questionable when the project would start, if at all.

Sources quoted by the Sme daily on May 2 suggested that if the German carmaker decided to invest in a factory in Slovakia it could be to build electric cars.

Slovakia is already home to three carmakers: PSA Peugeot Citroen, Kia and Volkswagen Slovakia.
Last year these factories produced more than 639,000 cars, thus topping the pre-crisis figure from 2008, when 575,000 cars were produced, the SITA newswire reported.

Jozef Uhrík, then president of the Automotive Industry Association of the Slovak Republic, stated earlier this year that the three plants should produce approximately 780,000 cars, SITA reported. According to Slovakia’s Statistics Office the automobile sector's share of industrial production has now risen to 39 percent of total output.

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