Polish Business Survey

Alan Heath
14-09-2000, 00:00

Polish Business Survey

No energetic expansion for Kopex

The ambitious plans of Kopex, directed by Krzysztof Pytel, have been scrapped. For the past year and a half the company has been talking about investing in coal production, central heating plants and energy trading.

The situation has now diametrically changed and Kopex has been forced to change its plans from expansion to fighting for survival.

Kopex s core business in machinery export has largely collapsed with only one outstanding order still on the books. This is a USD24m order for machinery to Rumania. As far as coal is concerned the company has exported only 300,000 tons this year chiefly because it cannot get good quality material from Poland. It also lost a PLN2.2m long-term export order from Germany in the restructuring of mines there. The Germans said that as this programme is financed by the state then a local company should be used.

Kopex is now hoping that Poland will privatise the mining sector so it can buy profitable pits. It has also entered the construction market building 250 flats in Silesia. It is expecting a turnover this year of PLN300m but only PLN5m profit. This will mean that far from buying new companies it will have to sell the minority shareholdings it has in the Elimar stockbroking house (nine percent) the GBG bank (ten percent) and its 15 percent share in security company Konsalnet.

Wooden bourse

NFI Foksal, the owner of Koszalin wood concern KPPD has submitted a request to enter the company on the Warsaw stock exchange. The date of the debut will be decided by its new owner.

Catching up with Fiat

Recent export figures demonstrate that whereas Fiat still has first position, General Motors is catching up fast. Fiat is expecting to have exported 191,000 cars before the end of the year, up from last year s 174,300. The best selling model abroad is the Seicento, 109,000 of which have been exported to Italy, Germany and the UK.

Since last year around one fifth of the Opel Astra Classics produced by GM in Gliwice has been exported, mainly to Hungary, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Turkey. This year the company is hoping to manufacture at least 35,000 of them. A further 70,000 Agila s are to be manufactured, ninety percent of which are destined for markets abroad. Once full production is reached, GM claims that it will produce 100,000 Agilas and 50,000 Astras. Daewoo-FSO is aiming to produce 200,000 cars this year, fifteen percent of which will be exported. To the end of July 12,600 cars were exported, roughly the same as in all of last year.

Pasta factory to go up

At a cost of PLN30m and not issuing any dividends this year, Lublin based pasta producer Lubella aims to open two new production facilities. The company is thus leaping ahead of rivals Danuta from Malbork in northern Poland who are waiting for new export markets before expanding. Lubella is one of the two largest domestic producers of pasta. Last year its sales were more than PLN171m.

Pensioned off

The pension funds are seemingly trying their best to save money. The first way is by getting rid of some of their agents - the funds believe that their jobs are now finished. The second way is cutting out the publicity budget, Allianz, Pekao/Alliance and Arka-Invesco have already cancelled their planned autumn campaigns.

Tyring out

Around the beginning of next year the treasury will privatise Stomil Poznań, the last state owned company in the tyre business. The treasury believes that an investor will be found who can pay a good price. Two years ago the main candidate was the Japanese Bridgestone/Firestone although today representatives of the company say they are not interested. Stomil Poznań produces tyres for lorries, agricultural machines and small vehicles such as fork lifts. It employs 220 people.

Big bill for phone companies

Telecommunications minister Tomasz Szyszko, says in an interview in today s Puls Biznesu that the terms for obtaining a UMTS licence will change and companies like Telecom Italia, the Spanish Telefonica, US based SBC, Finnish Soner, Asian Hutchinson Whampoa, Dutch KPN as well as Polish concerns are interested. Even bankrupt state railway concern PKP is interested in bidding and the minister is taking it seriously. He says that the PKP has a lot of buildings and infrastructure which would allow it to make a successful bid.

The price of a licence will be EUR750m which, he claims, is not too much. Szyszko admits that there is pressure to reduce the cost but he does not intend to allow this price to be lowered. New conditions include lengthening the instalment terms for paying for the licences. The final terms will be known on 2 October when the tenders are announced.

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Podpis: Alan Heath

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