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The Warsaw Voice » Business » January 16, 2008
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Business in brief
January 16, 2008   
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NBP Exchange Rates January 14, 2008
1 EUR = zl. 3.5825
1 USD = zl. 2.4055
1 CHF = zl. 2.2044
1 GBP = zl. 4.7200
100 JPY = zl. 2.2331

Gov't Wants Control Over PKO BP
The government has said it intends to retain control over Poland's largest retail bank, PKO BP. Deputy Treasury Minister Michał Chyczewski said, "PKO BP should remain in government hands. I don't see the need for foreign investment." This will not affect plans to further privatize the bank, according to Chyczewski.

Agusta Still Seeking Contract
Italian-British helicopter consortium Agusta Westland has not given up on a $500-million deal to supply the Polish Air Rescue Service with 23 helicopters. German-French corporation Eurocopter was given the nod last year but their winning bid was later canceled by the Public Procurement Office. The health ministry is appealing, claiming the tender was carried out properly. Any new tender will have to await the decision of the courts.

SEZs Hope For Bumper Year
Poland's special economic zones (SEZs) are hoping to attract between 199 and 213 new companies this year. This is expected to bring in zl.11.2 billion worth of investment and create 15,500-16,000 jobs. Investors in Poland's SEZs were given the go-ahead for 210 new projects last year, having pledged to invest nearly zl.8.8 billion and create 22,500 jobs.

Capital Injection for PGNiG Norway
Polish oil and gas corporation Polskie Górnictwo Naftowe i Gazownictwo has raised the capital of its Norwegian subsidiary PGNiG Norway from zl.6 million to zl.227 million. PGNiG Norway is exploring the Norwegian continental shelf for oil and natural gas, having obtained a search and extraction license from ExxonMobil in October. The company hopes to start drilling in 2011.

Gazprom in Nigeria?
Russian fuel giant Gazprom is holding talks with Nigeria according to Britain's Financial Times daily. The Russians have offered to invest in the country's energy infrastructure in exchange for access to its natural gas deposits, the paper says.

Millions for Baltic Ecosystem
The European Commission has earmarked 9 million euros for research aimed at devising ways to manage the Baltic Sea ecosystem. Russia and the eight EU member states bordering the Baltic-Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Sweden-will be contributing 18.7 million euros.

Solaris Extends Bus Factory
The second stage of extending the Solaris bus factory in Bolechowo near Poznań will boost production from four to eight buses per day when completed later this year. The project is expected to cost around zl.40 million. Solaris has orders to build 1,000 buses this year, which exceeds last year's output by 30 percent.

Inflation Up in Estonia
Inflation in Estonia jumped from 9.1 percent in December 2006 to 9.6 percent in December last year, reaching its highest level since August 1998. Higher taxes on alcohol, cigarettes and fuel will probably push it through the 10-percent barrier in the first half of this year, according to Finance Minister Ivari Padar.

SNC Lavalin to Design Terminal
Canadian engineering company SNC Lavalin has nine months from Jan. 10 to design a liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal for Polish oil and gas giant PGNiG for zl.26 million. The terminal will be built in the coastal town of Świnoujście and will cost an estimated 350-500 million euros. The terminal will handle 5-7.5 billion cubic meters of natural gas per year, and the first deliveries are planned for 2011.
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