Polish Business Survey

Alan Heath
opublikowano: 06-07-2000, 00:00

Polish Business Survey

Bourse still lethargic

In spite of forecasts to the contrary, yesterdayŐs trading on the Warsaw stock market did not produce the increase in values that was expected. Many investors clearly had next yearŐs unannounced budget on their minds. After unfavourable press reports were released in the morning, many traders opted for profit taking and started to sell. Nonetheless price values did not change much and it cannot yet be said that the market has got over its lethargy.

TPSA contract this month

The agreement selling a 35 percent stake in TPSA to France Telecom and Kulczyk Holding will be signed in the next two weeks. The Treasury is expecting to get USD4bn from the sale.

Wawel needs cash

Kraków based chocolate manufacturer Wawel hopes to build a new PLN100m factory outside of the city to which it could transfer production. It is hoping that an investor will help finance this project.

MD Lech Wójcicki admits that whereas he can invest in new machinery, without an investor the company will vegetate. He says that the company does not need new technology or organisation, it just needs cash. Wawel is negotiating with several foreign companies, although Wójcicki claims that none of them expect to get control of the company.

Wawel has finished its restructuring. Management structure was changed, as were many contracts. Four hundred people were laid off reducing the workforce to 950. The company had a seven fold increase in profits to PLN1.5m in the first quarter of this year as opposed to 1999. Wawel should be able to pay off its PLN9m debts within the next few years.

Rolls Royce of the Baltic

Rolls Royce Power Ventures has announced the purchase of 40 percent of its shares in Energobaltic, Petrobaltic and Hydromex for USD12m. This money will go some way to help pay for a USD38m gas heating plant at Władysławowo, to the north of Gdynia. Energobaltic will also build an 82km gas pipeline linking a rig in the Baltic with the heating plant which will then supply heat to local towns. The central heating plant is planned to open in autumn 2001.

Not an explosive privatisation

The management of Nitron plastics from Krupski Młyn has been waiting for several months for a privatisation advisor to be chosen. Once this step is taken the company thinks that because of the large range of products a number of potential investors could be interested. Privatisation has been delayed as up until last year the company which also produces explosives was considered to be of strategic importance and could not be sold to foreigners.

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Bosses open in Brussels

The Polish employers organisation PKPP will be opening an office in Brussels in September. On the Polish side this is somewhat late – similar organisations from countries such the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Cyprus and Malta have long had their representatives in the Belgian capital.

Steel board to change

The board of the Ferrum steelworks which contains three members nominated by the Colloseum consortium and two from Izostal is likely to be shortly changed. Colloseum owns 54 percent of the company and so far has not interfered with the day to day running of Ferrum. It is rumoured, however, that it is opposed to spending PLN120m on a new production line. In the first quarter of this year Ferrum lost PLN4.5m and clearly Colloseum feels that something has to change.

Polmos Poznań to be sold

The board at Polmos Poznań feels that the State could seek to privatise the company with a tender being announced in September and the process being completed before the end of the year. The company has an annual turnover of around PLN400m although the asking price will be several times more. The government is currently preparing a law which will strip Agros of the rights to export Polmos vodkas which would increase the value of the companies although they will almost certainly face costly legal action abroad. A privatisation strategy suggested by Pro Invest International considered that the State would sell at least 51 percent of the company with a strategic investor picking up 80 percent of the available stock.

Telecoms hassle not yet over

In the agreement late last month in which Netia received the second private Warsaw telephone concession, the company agreed to drop all charges against the State in the courts. However the situation as to the charges against former minister Maciej Srebro remain unclear and competing telephone operator El-Net could insist on taking him to court.

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Podpis: Alan Heath

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