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The 3rd largest dairy in Europe and (9th in the world) Bongrain SA has bought Liptovska mliekaren dairy. Bongrain already has a 40% stake in Milex, Nové Mesto.
Fromageries Bel SA, an important French cheese producer acquired 30% stake in Zempmilk a.s, Michalovce, the leading cheese producer in Slovakia and plan to increase it. Fromageries Bel that have 21 plants worldwide (13 of them outside France) was attracted by the high technology level of the Slovak cheeese production and good economic results of Zempmilk.
On 18 May 2000 Danone SA, Europe's third-largest food producer, opened its first production plant in Slovakia. The French company has imported all products to Slovakia until now. The reconstruction of the former meat-packing plant in Modranka near Trnava required investments amounting to 330 million crowns (US$7.021 mil.), whereby 90 new jobs were created by opening the production facility.
Rhône-Poulenc Slovakia Holding N.V., a subsidiary of Rhône-Poulenc SA (now part of Aventis) acquired the remaining 43.3% of shares Chemlon Humenné, Eastern Slovakia, and became the company's 100% owner. The National Property Fund (NPF) confirmed that Rhône-Poulenc had fulfilled all obligations vis-a-vis the NPF. Chemlon Humenné was incorporated on 1 January 1993, with Rhône-Poulenc Slovakia Holding N.V. equity participation of 56.8%. The NPF had concluded an agreement with the French company for the sale of the remaining stake on 29 October 1998.
On December 14 2000 a memorandum of understanding on a 2.5 billion crown ($51.9 million) investment with French auto parts producer Plastic Omnium SA was signed. It is the fourth largest foreign investment in Slovakia's history. Omnium will produce bumpers, fuel tanks and wheel wells for Volkswagen (the French firm's main customer) and Porsche. Omnium's factory site near the west-Slovak village of Lozorno will be only 20 kilometres from VW's future Malacky plant. The new idustrial park should accomodate 7 to 12 largest suppliers of Volkswagenu directly employing 1200 to 1500 people. Omnium alone will create 500-650 new jobs by the end of 2002. It will consist of two companies: Plastic Omnium Auto Exteriors, s.r.o. (bumpers for VW Polo and two 4WD vehicles) and Plastic Omnium Fuel System, s.r.o. (fuel tanks).
Budapest had offered Omnium the chance to invest into a pre-prepared site with infrastructure already complete, ready for Omnium to begin construction of its plant. In Slovakia, however, Omnium will have to invest an undisclosed sum into infrastructure with the Slovak government contributing 41 million crowns ($820,000).
Alexis Martinez, Omnium's financial director, explained that the importance of being in the same country as its main customer [VW], the abundance of skilled Slovak labor, and the project's overall prospects, had all been important factors in his company's final decision.
"The Slovak government provided us with a respectable [investment] package, and I don't think that we would have saved more money in Hungary. The project has to be viewed from a longer-term perspective, not just its pre-investment stage.
"We believe that globally, Slovakia has an advantage over Hungary, primarily because skilled people are more available here than there, and because things are getting better, especially at the regional level. Local governments [in Slovakia] are able to understand the needs of companies like Plastic Omnium better," Martinez said.
In September 2000 Solvay S.A. (of Belgium) and Plastic Omnium merged their fuel system
activities creating Inergy Automotive Systems (equally owned joint
venture), the world's leading producer of automotive fuel systems.
In June 2000 French Carrefour, the second largest global retailer (number 1 in Europe) opened its first hypermarket in Slovakia, later the 2nd one was opened.
Credit Lyonnais Bank Slovakia
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