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The Warsaw Voice » Business » March 5, 2008
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Business in brief
March 5, 2008   
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NBP Exchange Rates March 3, 2008

1 EUR = zl. 3.5356
1 USD = zl. 2.3305
1 CHF = zl. 2.2402
1 GBP = zl. 4.4284
100 JPY = zl. 2.2595

Slovakia-the New European Tiger
Slovakian GDP rose 14.1 percent during the last quarter of 2007. This was the largest increase in the EU and the largest in Slovakia since the country split from Czechoslovakia in 1993. Economists had been predicting GDP growth of 9.4 percent to follow on from the previous quarter's 8.9 percent.

Benefits for Seasonal Workers?
Unemployment benefits should be improved to help those who only work for a short period each year, according to Labor Minister Jolanta Fedak. "We want to extend welfare to seasonal workers," Fedak said. "These people should be entitled to benefits after nine months of work instead of 12." The ministry is considering amending the regulations.

Gwarant Takes Over Chinese Company
Gwarant, a Polish equipment manufacturer for the mining, steel and construction industries, has bought a controlling interest in FKI (Zhangjiakou) Mining Equipment, a Chinese manufacturer of chain locks. Gwarant plans to invest 2.5 million euros to double output and expand its product range. The company is aiming to access new markets and develop new products. The Chinese subsidiary will be known as Gwarant (Zhangjiakou) Industrial Technology. Gwarant purchased most of the shares of British company FKI UK to become a partner of China National Coal Mining Equipment, the country's second largest producer of coal mining equipment and machinery.

Nordisk Comes to Mielec
Communications equipment manufacturer Nordisk Polska has set up an operational base in the Mielec Special Economic Zone in southeastern Poland. The company has earmarked zl.22.5 million for the base and will employ 100 people there. Nordisk, which won a frequency tender in 2006, wants to cover 80 percent of the country by the second half of 2009. To do this, they will need to build 79 antenna towers. Their customers will mostly be transport, energy and construction firms, and uniformed services.

Production On the Up
Industrial output rose 10.8 percent year-on-year in January, according to the Central Statistical Office (GUS). This growth, the best since April 2005, was four percentage points above forecast. Manufacturers have increased sales by a seasonally adjusted 5.7 percent since December 2007. "This shows that there are no indications that economic growth is about to slow down," said Piotr Bielski, an economist at Bank Zachodni WBK. It seems that last year's 6.5 percent increase in GDP is going to be a hard act to follow, but a growth of around 5 percent is very likely.

R&D Center for Elettric 80
Italian company Elettric 80 has opened a research and development (R&D) center in Czyżyki, in the Cracow Special Economic Zone in southern Poland. Elettric 80 specializes in automating logistical processes and production lines. The company employs 200 people worldwide, with branches in the United States and Sweden. The Czyżyki R&D center employs 20 engineers.

Czech Economy Posts Record Growth
GDP in the Czech Republic rose a record 6.6 percent last year, according to the Czech central statistical office. This compares with a central bank forecast of 6.1 percent. GDP grew 6.4 percent in the third quarter and 6.9 percent in the fourth. The central bank's forecast for this year is 4.1 percent, somewhat more cautious than the Finance Ministry's estimate of 4.7 percent.

Makrum Buys Szczecin Shipyard
Bydgoszcz-based Makrum has purchased for zl.18.7 million the assets of the bankrupt Stocznia Pomerania shipyard in Szczecin, northwestern Poland. Makrum, which manufactures steelwork for ships and drilling platforms, intends to invest around zl.10 million in the shipyard, which went into liquidation in 2006. The purchase is predicted to earn the company an extra zl.23.2 million in revenue and add around zl.18.8 million in net profit.

ŁódĽ Connects With Tel Aviv
Israeli carrier Sun d'Or will fly from ŁódĽ to Tel Aviv every Saturday from March 29. The flights are being organized by Polish travel agency consortium Travel & Travel. "This is the first connection with Israel," said Wojciech Łaszkiewicz, vice-president of ŁódĽ airport.

Hungarian Output Rises
Industrial output rose 8.1 percent in Hungary last year, according to the Hungarian central statistical office. This compares with an increase of 9.9 percent in the previous year. Production increased by a seasonally adjusted 5.3 percent year-on-year in December. The month-on-month increase was 0.9 percent.
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