Slovak banks pass stress tests. Slovakia’s three biggest banks – Slovenská Sporiteľňa, VÚB and Tatra Banka passed the European Central Bank’s (ECB) financial health tests and will not need to raise additional capital.
Volkswagen Slovakia keeps expanding. The oldest carmaker in Slovakia, Volkswagen Slovakia (VW SK), opened a new tool shop in Stupava. It will manufacture tools and equipment for automotive production to be used in Slovakia’s assembly plant, as well as to be exported to VW plants in the EU, China, India and Mexico.
Free trains for more citizens. Within a €250 million social-economic package of the Prime Minister Robert Fico cabinet designed to compensate Slovaks for recent years of austerity, the group of people eligible for free rail transport was extended to nearly half of the nation. As of November 17, children under the age of 15 and full-time students under the age of 26, people over 62 and all recipients of pensions are eligible for free travel using the national railways.
Enel is getting bids. The majority owner of the dominant power producer Slovenské Elektrárne (SE), Italian Enel, received several offers for its 66-percent stake in SE. Czech electricity company ČEZ and the Slovak refinery Slovnaft expressed unbinding interest in buying the majority stake while media speculated that offers might have arrived also from Czech Energetický a Průmyslový Holding (EPH) or the China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC).
Ryanair will open its base in Bratislava. Ryanair CEO Michael O’Leary unveiled the company’s plan to open its first base in Slovakia, in Bratislava, next March. Investments are planned at €160.6 million. Ryanair will base two airplanes here, and 16 routes will operate from this base.
Low-wage workers to earn more. The cabinet introduced a reform of payroll taxes of low-wage workers to increase their wages and reduce unemployment. The measure introduces the so-called payroll taxes’ deductible item of €380 per month, reducing the base for the calculation of compulsory health insurance contributions. This way it reduces health insurance premiums paid by workers as well as their employers, while the maximum gross wage on which it would apply should be €570.
Tatras marked 10th anniversary of windstorm. Ten years ago, on November 19, 2004, extreme winds with speeds of up to 230 km per hour levelled forests in the Tatra mountains, toppling the nation’s pride along with them. The disaster left two people dead, billions of crowns in damages and Slovakia’s most popular tourist destination badly scarred. After 10 years, all the damages have yet to be counted due to the arrival of the bark beetle which has caused comparable damages.