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Vol. 17, No. 6 Monday, February 14, 2011 - Sunday, February 20, 2011 of this issue

NEWS Coalition
Trnka fights back
The government has pro-
posed new rules for prosec-
utors, but faces criticism
from former general pro-
secutor Dobroslav Trnka,
another MP
who has now returned to a
senior position. Dual citizenship changes
pg 2 put on ice

RTVS chief appointed

loslava Zemková was ap- Spectator staff
pointed permanently to the
merged public broadcaster's
top job after winning the
support of 80 MPs in a par- THE ISSUE of dual citizenship is proving as
liamentary vote. controversial as ever, and led to a major
pg 3 disagreement within the coalition on Feb-
ruary 10. After parliament failed to pass the
coalition’s draft amendment of the citizen-
OPINION ship law and two coalition MPs voted in fa-
vour of an opposition draft, Most-Híd
Cutting the strings blocked parliamentary business, leading
Whatever justifications Freedom and Solidarity (SaS) to sack reneg-
business may come up with ade MP Igor Matovič from its parliament-
for the golden parachutes Igor Matovič, an MP for the Freedom and Solidarity (SaS) party, voted for an opposition amendment to the Citizen- ary caucus.
granted to executives, there ship Act on February 10. SaS promptly expelled him and he will now sit as an independent. Photo: Sme Most-Híd leader Béla Bugár announced
is no place for them in state- that his party would not vote for other co-
owned firms – or for politic- alition draft laws until the situation had
al nominees.

pg 5
State plans to sell been clarified, and called on fellow coali-
tion parties SaS and the Christian Demo-
cratic Movement (KDH) to deal with their
errant MPs. Matovič, who leads the four-
member Ordinary People faction within

Investment matures
In the last decade private
equity groups in Slovakia
have started to become
heating plants SaS, and Radoslav Procházka, a KDH
deputy, supported a draft amendment pro-
posed by the opposition Smer party. Bugár
also called on Prime Minister Iveta
Radičová to act, and convene a session of
more sector-oriented and GOLDEN parachutes for CEOs, fishy tial blocks and even city districts via the Coalition Council, saying “this is a
extend their activities in- sales of excess emission quotas at a piped distribution networks, have problem for the whole coalition”.
to neighbouring coun-
BY BEATA BALOGOVÁ SaS leader Richard Sulík subsequently
hefty discount on the market price Spectator staff reported profits these have largely
tries. and failed political nominations to been down to one-off sales of excess announced Matovič was being expelled
pg 6 top managerial posts have brought emissions quotas – and that some of from the SaS parliamentary caucus, thus
the subject of state-owned heating the companies have remained loss- making him the second independent MP,
companies under the political spot- The cabinet approved the sale on making even after taking such in- following the recent departure of Andrej
Looking to Europe light. Now the government has de- February 9. Yet, as recently as Janu- come into account. Ďurkovský from the KDH caucus.
Investment analysts talk to cided to put six heat producers up ary 20, Prime Minister Iveta Privatisation is in the public in- “If Igor Matovič doesn’t have a problem
The Slovak Spectator about for sale based on an analysis by the Radičová said that only companies terest, Mikloš said, adding that the voting with him [Fico], that’s his decision.
what makes private equity country’s privatisation agency that have been consistently loss- experience of keeping heating com- We have a problem voting with him [Fico],
firms in Slovakia unique. which says that the state would, in making would be considered for sale. panies in state hands has shown that and we also have a problem with a person
pg 7 the long run, be better off selling at Finance Minister Ivan Mikloš com- they do not develop well and have who doesn’t have such problem being
least part of its stake in these com- mented that even if some of these slipped further into debt. among us,” Sulík said.
panies rather than trying to man- companies, which produce hot wa-
CULTURE age them. ter and steam to heat whole residen- See SALE pg 9 See OUT pg 3


Former Czechoslovak
statesman and leader of the
Prague Spring, Alexander
Bank loan rates spotlighted CAREER & EMPLOYMENT
Dubček, was commemor- to check whether what he that his ministry intends to GUIDE 2011
ated in Rome with a bust BY BEATA BALOGOVÁ called “high” banking charges examine them together with
of him being unveiled in Spectator staff are not the result of a cartel the National Bank of Slovakia
January. agreement across the banking and the Antitrust Office. The
pg 11 sector. The minister pointed banks deny that there is any
THE FINANCE Ministry has
announced that it will con-
duct a close examination of
out that mortgages provided
by banks in Slovakia are
among the most expensive in
cartel agreement and say that
the issue should be subject to
an independent audit.
€ benchmark as of February 10
banking practices in Slovakia.
The country’s central bank
the whole eurozone. Observ-
ers suggest that when, as is
“We are convinced that
there is no cartel agreement
HUF 273.28
JPY 112.71
and antitrust authority will
also be taking a hard look at
the case in Slovakia, three
large banks control a majority
through the banking sector;
yet this could be either con- WEEK
the fees and interest rates that of the banking market then firmed or denied by an inde-
banks operating in the Slovak they do not really need a cartel pendent body,” Marcel Laznia,
market charge to lend money, agreement. spokesman for the Banking
for example to finance home “I consider the price of Association of Slovakia (SBA),
purchases. Finance Minister
Ivan Mikloš said in early Feb-
loans and banking charges to
be inappropriately high in
told The Slovak Spectator. Trends in the Slovak labour market
ruary that it will be necessary Slovakia,” Mikloš said, adding See RATE pg 9 and human resources
2 February 14 – 20, 2011 NEWS

PM lays out changes

Harabin seeks foreign observers
THE PRESIDENT of Slovakia’s
Judicial Council, Štefan Ha-
and enormous pressure of
political power in overruling
in prosecutors' offices
rabin, wants the European the judiciary,” as quoted by “The proposed legislation
Network of Councils for the the SITA newswire. He also BY MICHAELA restricts the autonomy of the
Judiciary (ENCJ) to send ob- stated that the government TERENZANI prosecution and of the general
servers to Slovakia to monitor had recently removed three Spectator staff prosecutor in relation to polit-
the election of new judicial members of the Judicial ical power and basically is dir-
council members that are ex- Council in violation of the ected only towards one aim,
pected to be held in May or constitution. SLOVAKIA’S state and district the politicisation of the
June 2012. Harabin made the Carmona said Harabin’s offices that are charged with prosecution,” Trnka wrote,
request during a February 9 request will be passed on to prosecuting those who violate suggesting that if the law is
meeting with the newly-elec- the governing body of the the law are next on the passed in its current form he
ted president of the ENCJ, ECNJ, SITA wrote. government’s agenda for what would seek review of it by the
Miguel Carmona Ruano. Carmona also met Justice the prime minister and justice Constitutional Court.
Harabin stated that his Minister Lucia Žitňanská minister call more public con- “A closed system always
request was based on the during his one-day visit to trol and transparency. defends itself from opening to
“absolutely non-standard Bratislava. At the end of last year the public control,” Žitňanská said
ruling coalition parties were in reaction to Trnka’s criti-
unable to select a new general cism.
Court rejects complaint by Smer MPs prosecutor despite a series of
votes in parliament, a debacle Trnka would be eligible
THE CONSTITUTIONAL their fundamental rights and that rocked the Slovak politic-
Court has rejected a com- freedoms and their right to al scene. Now the post of gen- The proposed amend-
plaint brought by MPs from participate in administration eral prosecutor, the top pro- ment states that a general
the opposition Smer party of public affairs through a secutorial position in the prosecutor (GP) will serve
who argued before the court secret ballot were violated country, is vacant and the only one seven-year term.
that their constitutional when some MPs took photos Justice Ministry is promising The prime minister said this
rights had been violated in of their ballot papers along that the next person in that was designed “to strengthen
parliament’s secret ballot with an attached MP’s ID position will have to follow the independence of the GP
vote on December 2 to select card in order to have evidence some new rules. from politicians so that the
a general prosecutor. A panel of how they had voted, while The amendment to the Law GP is not tempted to impress
of the court dismissed the other MPs came to cast their on Prosecution prepared by the some politicians or political
complaint by saying it was ballots in pairs, the SITA Justice Ministry has been un- Dobroslav Trnka may run for the GP post again. Photo: Sme parties based on the fact that
lodged by a person without newswire wrote. dergoing interdepartmental they might vote for him or
proper standing and was also Fico reacted that he had review since February 4 and troduce the position of two nominated by the Justice her for the next seven years”.
groundless. expected such a ruling from will remain open for com- prosecutor’s assistant. In this Ministry, and one person selec- But the proposed amendment
The complaint was de- the Constitutional Court, say- ments for another three weeks. way the minister said she ted by the prosecutors’ council does not make this restriction
livered to the Constitutional ing he had already stated his The General Prosecutor’s Office wants to open the process for in the district with a vacant retroactive.
Court on December 3. A group concern about whether the had the draft earlier, for its re- selecting new prosecutors to prosecutor’s position. “I welcome that we have
of 55 deputies from Smer, led initiator of the complaint had view and comment. all candidates who fulfil the Trnka wrote that giving reached an agreement with
by former prime minister and legitimate standing to submit Prime Minister Iveta requirements of the position. the justice minister the au- the minister,” Radičová said
current deputy speaker of such a complaint, the Sme Radičová stated that the sub- Currently, prosecution clerks thority to pick two people who about the proposed law having
parliament Robert Fico, said daily wrote. stance of the amendment is are favoured to become new would select prosecutors is “an an initial, temporary clause
based on feedback from cit- prosecutors, the minister unacceptable intervention in- which prevents it from being
izens, saying that 65 percent of said, while noting that former to the independence of applied retroactively, thus al-
Hungarian climber dies in High Tatras Slovaks believe that the General Prosecutor Dobroslav prosecution”. Trnka’s letter la- lowing previous general pro-
country’s prosecutors have Trnka had refused to make belled a provision that would secutors to again seek the post
A HUNGARIAN mountaineer injured but was able to walk failed in cases involving organ- this change. allow the justice minister to under the new law. Thus,
was killed in an avalanche in to safety unaided. Mountain ised crime or in prosecuting ‘big “The institute of prosecu- start disciplinary proceedings Trnka would be eligible to seek
the High Tatra mountains on rescue teams of 12 profes- fish’ and ‘white collar’ crimes. tion clerks is meant for the against a prosecutor in the the post again and could serve
the afternoon of Saturday sionals and 4 volunteers at- She added that in the future systematic preparation of the same way. for another seven years.
February 5, Prešov Regional tended the scene to assist these kinds of cases should not clerks for the post of a prosec- The ministry has proposed Even though Trnka’s term
Police spokesperson Jana with the rescue. be swept under the rug as easily utor, both professionally and making disciplinary proceed- as general prosecutor ended
Karnišová told the TASR According to the Moun- because of several changes in- organisationally,” Trnka ings more open to the public by on February 2, he soon re-
newswire. tain Rescue Service, the four cluded in the amendment, such wrote in an open letter to the altering the composition of a turned to the General
Two other tourists, also Hungarian mountaineers as banning so-called ‘negative justice minister dated Febru- disciplinary committee so that Prosecutor’s Office. Ladislav
Hungarians, were severely triggered an avalanche while orders’ issued by higher-level ary 2, his last day in office, it would include a member Tichý, who is currently
injured in the incident they were climbing down prosecutors. while also criticising all other proposed by parliament and serving as the temporary,
which took place in an area Lomnický Štít. The plunging aspects of the ministry’s pro- one proposed by the ministry. caretaker general prosecutor
near Lomnický Štít moun- snow swept them down a Banning ‘negative orders’ posed amendment. Following up on the until parliament makes a de-
tain while another Hungari- steep and narrow mountain To be transparent, the se- Radičová government’s previ- cision on a permanent suc-
an mountaineer was slightly valley. Justice Minister Lucia lection process for prosecutors ous approach to making the cessor, had previously served
Žitňanská proposed in the should be similar to that for work of public institutions as Trnka’s first deputy. With-
amendment to eliminate judges, Žitňanská said, with all more open to the general pub- in days of Trnka’s term as gen-
Bratislava to see second pride parade ‘negative orders’, a process in the documentation submitted lic, the amendment proposes eral prosecutor ending, Tichý
which higher level prosecutors by a candidate and information that certain decisions be pub- appointed him to the position
SLOVAKIA’s gay pride “The organisation of are permitted to order subor- assembled by a selection com- lished online: decisions by se- of deputy general prosecutor
parade, Rainbow Pride Brat- Rainbow Pride Bratislava 2011 dinate prosecutors to not mission being published. She lection committees, decisions responsible for the office’s
islava, will again be held in is in full swing,” Schlesinger launch criminal prosecution added that head prosecutors in of disciplinary committees, penal department.
the capital city in 2011. said. “The success of the first against a suspect, to not lodge districts will be selected in this and decisions made by a Trnka is therefore still re-
“The biggest lesbian, gay, year motivated us and we charges or have a suspect ar- way under the amendment prosecutor’s office which do sponsible for criminal cases
bisexual, and transgender cannot just stop. We would rested, or to cease criminal pro- and will serve for a maximum not lead to further court pro- and in the event of Tichý’s ab-
(LGBT) event in Slovakia will like to establish several secution. of two five-year terms rather cesses. Additionally, prosec- sence he may have the top de-
take place on June 4,” Ro- unique spots for open discus- “We respect the hierarchic than for an indefinite period, utors’ declarations of assets cision-making power with the
mana Schlesinger, the Exec- sions about human rights.” structure of the organisation of as is currently the case. should be published on the General Prosecutor’s Office,
utive Director of the event, The organisers said prosecution and therefore if the There is controversy over website of the General even though Trnka had told
told the SITA newswire. She members of the public will direct superior of a prosecutor the composition of these selec- Prosecutor’s Office, according broadcaster TV Markíza that
said preparations are ongo- have an opportunity to see feels that a prosecutor is not tion committees. The amend- to the amendment. he was going to act as “a nor-
ing and that the 2011 pro- several movies and theatre handling a case right, he or she ment, following the principles mal, ordinary prosecutor”
gramme will have more in- performances, to take part in can take over the case and de- that are included in the re- Critical comments after his term elapsed. The
teresting accompanying cul- discussions and to view ex- cide on it alone,” Žitňanská said. cently enacted law on judges, Sme daily wrote that it suspec-
tural events and a musical hibitions on lesbian, gay, bi- states that the selection com- Trnka has expressed con- ted that Trnka had created the
programme. She added that sexual, and transgender More transparency mittee will consist of five cerns that the amendment is deputy’s position for himself
she expects the parade across rights during a week of ac- members, one nominated by an attempt to politicise the only shortly before his depar-
Bratislava to be safer than companying events. The justice minister has parliament’s constitutional af- work of the country’s prosec- ture when he changed the
last year, when the first ever also proposed the elimination fairs committee, one nomin- utors and give more control to office’s organisational struc-
pride parade in Slovakia was Compiled by Spectator staff of the position of prosecution ated by Slovakia’s Council of the government over their de- ture. Sme wrote that Trnka re-
disrupted in several ways. from press reports clerk and instead seeks to in- Prosecutors at the state level, cision-making. fused to comment on its story.
NEWS February 14 – 20, 2011 3

Chief appointed for OUT: Most-Híd blocks

parliament, MP sacked
new public broadcaster Continued from pg 1

Matovič said he voted in

line with his faction’s
agreement with the Coali-
izenship, something made
easier by a law passed by
Budapest last year.
Matovič was not the only
rebel. The KDH’s Radoslav
manager without any polit- tion Council, since Smer’s Procházka announced in the
BY BEATA BALOGOVÁ ical affiliation. amendment was defeated (as parliamentary debate on
Spectator staff Among 18 candidates who one Ordinary People MP February 9 that he would also
had submitted applications, voted against it, while the refuse to support the coali-
only Peter Abrahám, a former remaining two abstained), tion draft, but for rather dif-
SLOVAKIA’S mega public member of Slovakia’s licens- but insisted that his vote in ferent reasons. He was op-
broadcaster now has a per- ing council and Fedor Flašík, a favour of Smer’s amendment posed to a provision which
manent chief: Miloslava promotions expert, as well as was covered by the agree- stated that Slovakia does not
Zemková, the interim direct- Zemková and Rezník, were ment as he had made clear recognise the citizenship of a
or of Radio and Television of dubbed as having much that he wanted to vote in line person if it was not gained in
Slovakia (RTVS), which was chance of being elected. with his conscience. Matovič line with international law.
created by the merger of In her presentation to par- added that he had been de- “It looks as if we don’t re-
Slovak Radio (SRo) and Slovak liament Zemková pointed to ceived by the rest of the co- cognise the effects [of such
Television (STV) at the be- the potential risks of merging alition, but did not specify in laws] only in cases where we
ginning of 2011. She was the ailing TV network with what way. specifically state so, but oth-
chosen by parliament to the financially healthier radio “I’ve always voted in line erwise we do recognise
carry through what Culture broadcaster, while stressing with my conscience, and I them,” Procházka said, as
Minister Daniel Krajcer has that even if she were elected will continue to do so,” was quoted by SITA.
called a significant reform of Miloslava Zemková Photo: SITA by MPs, she would not be a his response when asked if
the public media in Slovakia. political nominee. he would continue to sup- Late night talks
On February 10, Zemková dom and Solidarity deputy Jaroslav Rezník, the director- She stated that if the fu- port the ruling coalition as
was supported by 80 out of caucus earlier in the day, general of the TASR news- ture director failed to properly an independent MP. “If anyone tries to force
137 MPs present in a recor- and Andrej Ďurkovský, wire. Both, Rezník and handle the financial chal- me to vote against my con-
ded vote in parliament. Ac- formerly of the Christian Zemková had managed SRo lenges of consolidating the Split opinions science, I will quit the
cording to unofficial in- Democratic Movement – in the past. Rezník received radio and television broad- coalition,” Matovič said on
formation, along with MPs voted for Zemková, the SITA only a single vote after the casters, it could mean the end The Coalition Council February 9, as quoted by the
from the ruling coalition newswire reported. opposition parties abstained. of public media in Slovakia, had met earlier, on the even- SITA newswire in reaction to
parties, two independent After a first round earlier Krajcer had earlier pointed the SITA newswire reported. ing of February 9, after a vote voices from the coalition
deputies – Igor Matovič, who on February 10, Zemková out that Zemková has a on the coalition amendment suggesting that he and his
was expelled from the Free- competed head-to-head with proven record as a successful See RTVS pg 5 was postponed due to dis- faction should support the
agreements within the coali- coalition draft.
tion, to discuss possible solu- Matovič’s determination

English becomes a must at schools tions to the situation.

Matovič said that if his
alteration to the coalition
has shaken the ruling coali-
tion and prompted some
strong statements, particu-
draft was not accepted, he larly from Most-Híd leader
Currently, only about 66 percent of Berešová explained that studying would vote for the draft Béla Bugár, who said that if
BY MICHAELA TERENZANI students in Slovakia learn English while in English at Slovak universities is not very amendment proposed by the Matovič voted with Smer, he
Spectator staff the EU overall the percentage is as high as attractive for young people as learning opposition Smer party, would consider him an op-
90 percent. Slovak students are required to the language is not easy, the social status which was closer to his pre- position MP. Speaking on TV
study two foreign languages: one begin- of teachers is low and the expected salary ferred version. news channel TA3, Bugár
FOREIGNERS looking for a bus stop or a ning in their third year and a second one is discouraging. She suggested that one Matovič in particular conceded that such an even-
museum in Copenhagen or Stockholm beginning in the fifth grade. They will no temporary solution for the lack of Eng- wanted to retain the facility tuality might lead to a
do not usually hesitate to ask a local res- longer be able to choose the first of them – lish-language teachers would be to give to remove Slovak citizenship minority government. Fol-
ident for help since they are almost cer- English will be mandatory for all. students at universities in any field of from people who acquire the lowing the departure of
tain to get a reply in fluent English. “A positive impact from this decision study an opportunity to continue in citizenship of another coun- Ďurkovský and now Matovič
This, however, is not yet the case in will not be seen immediately but in my courses of English for Specific Purposes try if they have not lived, the coalition commands the
Bratislava according to English teachers opinion it was necessary to come to this (ESP) for six to eight semesters. worked, studied or done votes of only 77 MPs out of
in Slovak schools who have welcomed conclusion,” Jana Berešová, the head of “Most non-philological faculties business there for at least a 150, although Ďurkovský has
the initiative of the Education Ministry the Slovak Association of Teachers of Eng- stopped teaching ESP to save money,” year, or if their relatives do pledged to continue voting
to strengthen the English-language lish, told The Slovak Spectator, adding Berešová told The Slovak Spectator. “No not hail from that state. with it.
skills of current and future generations that the law in itself will not improve institution checked if this kind of saving Smer’s amendment In the end, in line with
of Slovaks. But some teachers have also Slovak students’ English and that further is good or bad. It seems to be bad because would have allowed Slovak the agreement reached in the
expressed doubts whether the legisla- steps need to be taken, such as replacing many graduates are unemployed. If they citizens to obtain the cit- Coalition Council, the four
tion passed by the Slovak parliament, the old-fashioned accreditation based on had completed ESP courses, they could izenship of a country where Ordinary People voted in fa-
overriding a veto by President Ivan theory and literature by practical lessons have tackled this lack of teachers for a they have been registered as vour of their own version of
Gašparovič, that makes English instruc- focused on skills. certain time.” a resident for at least six the coalition draft, after
tion compulsory at primary schools will Berešová compared Scandinavian The Education Ministry told The months. The coalition draft which Gábor Gál of Most-
be enough to do the job. countries with Slovakia in that they are Slovak Spectator that at the end of revision of the Citizenship Híd, one of the authors of the
Education Minister Eugen Jurzyca also fairly small and their native lan- November 2009 almost 13,000 teachers Act, in contrast, wanted to coalition draft, withdrew the
believes that giving preference to Eng- guages will never be used by other were teaching English at basic and sec- remove the provision that al- original proposal. Parlia-
lish, as the contemporary lingua franca, Europeans as target languages. ondary school levels and that some lows those who acquire the ment then voted on Smer’s
over other languages in the mandatory “Their language policy supports Eng- schools lacked English-language teach- citizenship of another state draft, which was defeated
curricula of primary schools will bring lish as a language of communication, so in ers. The ministry expects to fill any to be stripped of their Slovak despite the fact that both
fruit in that every secondary school Sweden children start learning English shortage in teachers by using teachers citizenship altogether, with Matovič and Procházka sup-
graduate will be tasked with mastering very early and during their secondary who are upgrading their qualifications so the exception of police, ported it.
English at the B2 level of the Common school studies they can learn another tar- they will be permitted to teach English. army, intelligence services Prior to the vote, when
European Framework of Reference for get language, but mostly languages they Almost 4,000 teachers are now at- and security officers. Matovič announced the ar-
Languages. With that aim in mind, the think will be needed for real purposes, tending university courses for training in Most-Híd is most exer- rangement to journalists, he
Education Ministry was able to push an such as Spanish because a large part of the teaching foreign languages. The pro- cised about the changes as it said he wanted “the result to
amendment to Slovakia’s Schools Act world’s population uses Spanish as their gramme for retraining teachers, which represents many Hungari- be a good law which will be
through parliament. mother tongue or as a language of had been suspended for almost six an-speaking Slovak citizens the result of an agreement
communication,” Berešová explained. months due to problems drawing money who could be targeted if across the coalition and the
English becomes compulsory After the amendment was first passed from European funds, was restarted in they seek Hungarian cit- opposition”.
by Slovakia’s parliament, Education Minis- early 2011 when the education minister
Slovakia is the 14th country in the ter Eugen Jurzyca was showered with found resources in the state budget to
European Union to make English lan- strongly critical reactions from many quar- fund it.
guage instruction compulsory, after the ters. President Ivan Gašparovič vetoed the The British Council also proposed to
Slovak parliament overrode a presiden- law, stating that students should be able to the Education Ministry last September
tial veto of the amendment in early pick a language of their choice as their first that it could offer a range of courses for
February 2011 and gave the green light foreign language. Some ambassadors to teachers that might meet the ministry’s
to new rules that will become effective Slovakia, according to President Gašparovič, requirements. The British Council said it
on March 1. English will become com- also objected to their country’s language be- was willing to offer these resources to the
pulsory starting from the third grade at ing pushed aside in Slovak schools and some Education Ministry for free and would
all primary schools in the upcoming schools worried that there might not be also take the responsibility for training
school year. enough qualified English teachers. an initial group of trainers. Bugár said the coalition agreement was broken. Photo: Sme
4 February 14 – 20, 2011 BUSINESS

'The airport has always

GDP growth forecasts released
THE ECONOMY is growing
faster than expected accord-
growth should be primarily
triggered by foreign demand,
been a subject of interest'
ing to an analysis prepared investments, and rebuilding tions of the economic opera-
by the Finance Ministry’s of inventory but that begin- BY ADAM VALČEK tion of an airport.
Financial Policy Institute ning in 2012 an increase in Special to the Spectator
which states that GDP in domestic household con- TSS: So could you give at least
Slovakia will grow by 3.4 per- sumption due to a better la- three reasons why a rental
cent in 2011 and by 4.8 per- bour market will contribute MAROŠ Jančula considers the would be better than a sale?
cent in 2012, the Sme daily more to GDP growth, the option of renting Bratislava MJ: The airport will stay in
reported. SITA newswire reported. Airport to a strategic partner the state’s hands: the state will
The Financial Policy In- The labour market will for a long-term period a viable retain partial control and,
stitute commented that the continue to stagnate for option. The head of Bratislava after the rental period expires,
reason behind its better pro- some time according to the Airport also suggests that air- it be will returned to the state.
gnosis is an expected im- analysis. The Finance Min- ports elsewhere are being ren- If the whole process is well-
provement in the external istry lowered its estimate of ted for as long as 65 years, but run and the contract is good,
environment and positive employment growth for 2011 points out that they remain in the airport will be returned to
preliminary data for the to just 0.7 percent compared the hands of the state, which the state at least in the same
fourth quarter of 2010 in both to its previous estimate of 1.2 also retains partial interim state as when it was taken over
Slovakia and across the euro- percent growth. In 2012 em- control over them, and that by the concessionaire, if not a
zone. The institute wrote ployment is forecast to grow after the rental period expires better state.
that in the first two years of by 0.9 percent and in 2013 by they are returned to the state Bratislava Airport may seek a strategic partner. Photo: Sme
its prognosis, economic 1.2 percent, SITA reported. in the same condition – or TSS: However, one cannot
even improved. TSS: In the past you said that TSS: The draft plan for the make good forecasts over a
Jančula confirmed that in- there was interest in routes airport’s future says there term of 20 or 30 years, to be
Investment tax relief could broaden terest from investors can to Kiev and Moscow, but are serious problems with able to predict what might
already be detected. In an in- their launch is obstructed by the runway. Its reconstruc- happen. In the last ten years,
THE FINANCE Ministry has vironment have been re- terview with Sme daily and bilateral agreements that tion will require €233 million the aviation sector has made a
conceded that the time peri- viewed. The Slovak Spectator, Jančula define authorised carriers over the next ten years. The huge leap.
od for tax relief that is The Finance Ministry spoke about the development who can fly between the two draft points to the fact that MJ: At present, airports are
provided to recipients of also suggested that the duty prospects of the airport, pos- countries. Are any carriers reconstruction of the point rented for as many as 65 years.
government investment in- to deduct tax losses during sible new connections and the exerting pressure to have at which the runways inter- Do you know what will be in 30
centives might be increased the period of tax relief challenges that the air ter- these agreements changed? sect will mean the airport is years? How will we travel? Will
from five years to 10 years. should be preserved, adding minal faces. MJ: The carriers know the put out of operation. Will we need to travel that often by
The Economy Ministry is that the state will provide arrangements. Any arrange- this mean there are no plane at all?
planning to push for this subsidies for purchase of The Slovak Spectator: Are you ment can be opened only by flights from Bratislava?
longer period of time in a long-term tangible or intan- currently in negotiations two partners; in this case it is MJ: Yes, exactly. Flying TSS: These are exactly the is-
draft revision to Slovakia’s gible assets only in excep- with new air carriers? the transport ministries of would be limited entirely ac- sues that will be difficult to
investment assistance law, tional cases, namely for stra- Maroš Jančula (MJ): We Slovakia, Ukraine or Russia. cording to the length of the take into consideration with
the SITA newswire reported. tegic projects. are negotiating with current We can help but we are not the available part of the runway. the knowledge we have today.
The Finance Ministry The Economy Ministry carriers who operate here now ones to decide. Our task is more The runway could be used only MJ: Yes, but it happens
said that in principle it can wants to extend this stimu- about enhancement of their or less a passive one. for some types of aircraft. nevertheless. It will have to be
foresee this as a possible step lus provision to small and operations. We are negotiat- taken into consideration also
as it believes this form of tax medium-sized businesses ing with airlines that would be TSS: Do you know if carriers TSS: Is it realistic to limit in this contract. Today,
relief imposes the smallest and has suggested that the utterly new to the airport and are negotiating with the local flights? projects are made for an
load on public funds from minimum investment level who have already shown an ministry? MJ: It happens that air- equally long term – and not
among all kinds of fiscal should be cut in half and that interest in operating flights MJ: It has been going on ports are closed for six only for airports. Nowadays,
stimuli, but added that its fi- for investment in technology from Bratislava. for some time already. Maybe months or a year. The ques- airports are not only rented in
nal position will be decided centres, the minimum level we will soon get a positive re- tion is whether we can afford this way, but also built.
only after a set of proposals of assets should be reduced to TSS: For some time there action from Moscow through this, or whether we would be
to improve the business en- €500,000. have been rumours about in- our ministry. better advised to look for oth- TSS: The ministry draft says
terest from Turkish Airlines; er options. that by the end of next year a
the carrier itself has publicly TSS: Can you imagine a con- licence-holder, i.e. conces-
ICT sector blows its own trumpet declared an interest in flying nection between Bratislava TSS: What are those other op- sionaire, could be chosen. Are
to Slovakia. Are you negoti- and Moscow via a low-cost tions? The ministerial draft there any specific dates set?
THE AUTOMOTIVE or elec- to initiate an inflow of state ating with it? airline? mentions them too. MJ: Up to the end of this
tro-technical industries stimuli into the ICT sector but MJ: I would like to leave po- MJ: Of course, why not? MJ: These would be relat- year, the requirements for a
usually jump to mind as the to show that with minimal tential confirmation of negoti- Russian companies are ex- ively major interventions in concessionaire will just be set
main engines of Slovakia’s interventions from the state ations to these carriers. It would panding strongly now and it the total reconstruction of the out. The schedule depends on
economy but representat- (positive or negative) a thriv- be possible to name a list of car- would be a very interesting al- runway, e.g. its extension to- the ministry. A concessionaire
ives of the Slovak IT Associ- ing industrial branch can riers with whom we commu- ternative for passengers who wards the Malý Dunaj River, will be chosen in 2012 at the
ation (ITAS) said on Febru- emerge that generates bene- nicate, but so far we have not currently fly with expensive thus creating a total length earliest. This is a project we
ary 8 that the information fits for the whole of society. chosen such a policy. The carri- tickets from Vienna. that would be sufficient during don’t have much experience
and communications tech- The study reported that er is the one who bears the reconstruction for Boeing with, so someone will have to
nology (ICT) sector is not Slovakia’s ICT sector em- biggest commercial risk, so let it TSS: How are you preparing 737-700 aircraft to land. come and advise us: an adviser
part of this ‘ranking’ even ploys almost 40,000 people, decide whether it wishes to con- for the upcoming Ice Hockey who could even change some of
though it outperforms the with nearly 30,000 of these firm an interest. World Championship? TSS: As an expert on aviation, the views embodied in this
automotive industry in employees working in the MJ: The negotiations with could you try to explain why concept for aviation.
many important indicators. basic ICT sector, excluding TSS: Why is Bratislava so at- relevant organisations are un- offering an operating licence
The association introduced a publishing, audiovisual, and tractive for classical airlines derway. We are also making is better for Bratislava Air- TSS: Have you noticed any in-
study prepared by INESS radio activities. The report from the East? technical adjustments to ex- port than its sale? terest so far from the more
Consult about the import- noted that the average MJ: It is all about the satur- tended boarding gates to widen MJ: This is not a question well-known transport li-
ance of the ICT sector to the monthly salary in the ICT ation of the market. Airports in the space for passengers in the for an aviation expert, but cence-holders?
Slovak economy that was sector is €1,500 and that em- Vienna and Budapest are so-called non-Schengen zone. rather for an economic expert. MJ: So far, nothing specific
commissioned by ITAS. ployees in the ICT sector pay swamped and this is what sets Maybe fans from Russia and has taken place, but they never
“This study has confirmed more in payroll taxes than do the prices at different levels. other parts of the world will TSS: But the ministry’s draft ask directly. As for now, they
our assumptions that the ICT the workers in the automot- Many airlines from the East come. At the same time, we lacks any economic analysis. are making a market outline, to
industry is an important pil- ive industry. Furthermore, have grown and now they want want to create a space for tem- MJ: When taking into con- see what happens and how it
lar of Slovakia’s economy,” the analysis stated that ICT to expand. porary expansion of services sideration all factors currently will happen. We know that the
said Juraj Sabaka, the presid- companies paid income Bratislava has its advant- for passengers during the influencing the market, a li- airport has always been a sub-
ent of ITAS. “It has grown taxes of more than €170 mil- age and disadvantage as well: World Championship. cence is probably better. The ject of interest. And this is good
here on a green field with lion in 2009 and that this was the disadvantage is the prox- draft presupposes that it will for an airport – it means that
minimal state support and it more than the entire manu- imity of Vienna, and the ad- TSS: What is the financial be read by people who under- there is something that makes
now employs tens of thou- facturing industry and 50 vantage is its free capacities. condition of the airport? stand what they are reading, it attractive.
sands of people generating times more than the auto- Armavia, with its flights to MJ: We are operating at a so there is no deeper analysis.
products and services with a motive industry. Yerevan, has made a stra- profit but depreciation creates This is how it is perceived, The Sme daily first published
high added value.” tegic decision – this was not an overall loss. We are able to with all probability. It is not a a version of this interview
Sabaka added that the Compiled by Spectator staff about nobody wanting to fly finance everything ourselves, university textbook that with Maroš Jančula
purpose of the study was not from press reports to Bratislava. except for larger investments. would also explain the founda- on February 7
OPINION / NEWS February 14 – 20, 2011 5
“I have always wanted there only to be independent MPs in
parliament, who would decide freely according to their consciences.” Cutting the strings
Igor Matovič, speaking after becoming an independent MP himself
following his sacking from the SaS parliamentary caucus on the golden chute
THE SKY of the corporate selling emissions at €0.01 per time they have to improve
Pokakať sa world is full of 24-carat golden
parachutes allowing CEOs to
bail out from businesses
tonne. The market price at the
time was around €20 per
their personal prospects and
fill their pockets. If a manager
of a state-run enterprise is
government depends on when they get tired or when sacked for incompetence they
BY LUKÁŠ FILA SLOVAK WORD Matovič and the other three firms decide their time is should be liable for the dam-

“Ordinary People” faction past. When Time magazine age they cause rather than be-
Special to the Spectator members, without whom the dug into the history of golden ing given a parachute.
coalition has no majority. And parachutes it discovered price In the light of all these
IT’S NOT usual to hear politi- the countless unknowns the tags exceeding $35 million, developments Prime Minis-
cians talk about pooping. But recent development creates: plus deals guaranteeing lav- ter Iveta Radičová has said
then again, these are excep- Will Matovič vote for coalition ish consultancy fees for the that the era of political nom-
tional times. Mainly thanks to legislation? How about votes manager being shoved out of inations will end and that
renegade MP Igor Matovič. of confidence? How long will the corporate jet. Doubtless, managers will in future be
First, he outraged coali- it take before one of the other there have been some dia- picked via a competitive pro-
tion colleagues with an inter- coalition parties gets fed up mond parachutes worth mul- cess – and that those chosen
view for the Sme.sk website in with not being able to govern tiples of these sums. will not get offered a golden
which he suggested that on and starts talking to Smer? Slovakia’s sky has its para- parachute. But it remains to
average, each MP has at least Are there enough votes to chutes too and even if the be seen if this will become
10 nominees in state firms support the public vote on the price tag is only a fraction of reality, and if so if it will be
and institutions, which buys general prosecutor? If the these famous ones, they are applied to the present gov-
their loyalty and glues the co- vote is secret, can Dobroslav still enough to outrage the ernment.
alition together. He later cor- Trnka win? If Trnka wins, will public and even politicians. Those who have been
rected his statements. But And then finally came Prime Minister Radičová A pair of one-time man- running Slovakia for the past
only to say that the average is Matovič’s vote on dual cit- really step down? And what agers at the Košice-based two decades have not con-
more likely close to 20. izenship, and his subsequent happens then? heating plant TEKO recently ceded some important defin-
In the same interview, he expulsion from the Freedom It does not seem that received severance payments itions: that party interest
suggested that one of the co- and Solidarity (SaS) parlia- Matovič has even a vague of €100,000 and €90,000 re- BY BEATA BALOGOVÁ does not equal the public in-
alition leaders voted for gen- mentary caucus, for which he idea of where all this is head- spectively, despite holding Spectator staff terest or the interest of the
eral prosecutor candidate had a simple explanation – SaS ing. What he does realise is their posts at the company for state. Or, indeed, that the in-
Dobroslav Trnka, in breach of boss Richard Sulík was that blocking the coalition only a few weeks or months. terests of the state do not al-
coalition agreements. He gave frightened and pooped will do for him what pooping What makes their situation This is the extent of the ways coincide with the in-
no names, but his description (pokakal sa). does for children – win atten- more piquant is that TEKO is a managerial skills of some terests of the public.
fit only Most-Híd chairman What really is frightening tion. And that seems to be his state-owned company and political nominees. Yet, in The recent statement by
Béla Bugár. is the fact that the fate of this top priority. the managers in question this Slovak fairytale, they MP Igor Matovič that each
were nominated to their jobs were even paid when asked to Slovak deputy had installed
by political parties. leave. Businesses have in the as many as 10 people to vari-
Other heat-producing past produced their own eth- ous positions was probably
companies have been making ical justifications for golden intended to impress the me-
headlines in Slovakia not only parachutes, but in the cases dia and get attention, but
because of outrageous golden of the Slovak heating com- nevertheless he has a point.
parachutes but also due to the panies none of these apply. It is disappointing that
mess that some political For example, advocates of politicians after each elec-
nominees have left behind, as golden parachutes claim that tion cling to political nom-
well as some rather unfortu- offering them makes it easier inations to state-owned
nate picks by parties which to head-hunt someone for a businesses. They still some-
have helped turned the prac- position, and then provides how pretend to believe that
tice of political nominations more security and the pro- being someone’s cousin, or
into a complete farce. spect of keeping the same getting a job simply because
In one example, the managers from yielding to of- of loyalty, or from being
Žilinská Teplárenská heating fers from other companies. close to a party means that a
company, while led by a Slov- Yet if the Slovak version of nominee will be just as good
ak National Party (SNS) nom- the golden parachute opens a manager as a professional
inee during the government after just a couple of weeks on with years of experience.
of Robert Fico, in 2008 sold the job, it almost invites polit- Why do party headquarters
60,000 tonnes of excess emis- ical nominees – who in fact think they are better suited
sions quotas at half the mar- know that their job prospects to pick managers than inde-
ket price. The Trnava heating last only as long as their polit- pendent bodies? And why do
plant, under its previous ical sponsors remain in power ‘independent bodies’ so of-
management did even better – not so much to strive for ten pick nominees along
What's that smell? Igor Matovič says he does not like political parties. Photo: Sme - Vladimír Šimíček between 2008 and 2009, success as to use the limited party lines?

RTVS: Financial stability now the focus

Continued from pg 3 Smer. Flašík’s wife, Monika STV for 2011 is expected to arm of RTVS but some per- J ÁN PAL LO - Publisher
Flašíková Beňová, is a prom- reach €36 million. sonnel changes were made.
Rezník called his inent member of Smer. Krajcer called the merger The career of former STV dir- B E ATA B AL O G OVÁ - Editor - In - Chief
presentation “Building a the first step in a broader re- ector general Štefan J AM E S THO M S O N - Assistant Editor
strong brand” and said that The mega broadcaster form of public-service media Nižňanský, who had signed D O NAL D S PATZ - Assistant Editor
J ANA L IP TÁKOVÁ - Staff Writer
programming is the most in Slovakia which he said some large contracts in M IC H AE LA TER ENZANI - Staff Writer
important thing since view- The legislation establish- would take about three years December just before leaving ZUZANA V IL IKOVS K Á - Staff Writer
ers are not interested in the ing RTVS came into force on and involve a fundamental office, was brought to an end. D O M INIK A UH R ÍKOVÁ - Staff Writer
financial problems of STV, January 1, 2011. President change in its method of finan- Some of Nižňanský’s de- LAYOUT, WEB & IT
which he called “a factory Ivan Gašparovič vetoed the cing. Beginning in 2012, the cisions as director had evoked TATIANA ŠTR AUC HOVÁ - Graphic Designer
producing debts”. Rezník law twice but parliament public-service broadcaster strong concern among some R O M AN K R Á Ľ - IT
TO M Á Š PAL L O - Online Publishing
said that the dire financial overrode his vetoes. Shortly will no longer receive revenue media professionals and even
situation cannot be remedied thereafter Zemková was from the so-called concession- though Krajcer stressed last SALES - FINANCES
without additional state named interim director of ary fee paid by all electricity year that the merger was not B EATA F OJ TÍKOVÁ - Sales Executive
M AR TINA Š M ATL ÁKOVÁ - PR and Marketing Manager
support. RTVS, joined by deputies consumers in Slovakia. designed to remove M AR TA F UK AS OVÁ - Advertising Assistant
Flašík advocated merging Ľuboš Machaj, formerly SRo The consolidation is also Nižňanský from his position, D ÁŠA R EH ÁKOVÁ - Circulation Manager
the state-owned TASR programme director, and expected to include moving the parties of the governing The Slovak Spectator is an independent newspaper published every Monday by The Rock, s.r.o.
newswire into RTVS while Daniela Vašinová, formerly the two broadcasters into a coalition never hid their cri- Subscriptions: Inquiries should be made to The Slovak Spectator’s business office at (+421-2) 59 233 300.
Printing: Petit Press a.s. Distribution: Interpress Slovakia s.r.o., Mediaprint-kapa s.r.o., Slovenská po‰ta a.s.
also building a greenfield financial director of SRo. single building at some point ticism of his work. Mail Distribution: ABOPRESS. EV 544/08. © 2010 The Rock, s.r.o. All rights reserved. Any reproduction
in whole or in part without permission is prohibited by law. The authors of articles published in this issue,
media centre, a concept sim- Krajcer said that merging in the future. Officials of other Slovak represented by the publisher, reserve the right to give their approval for reproducing and public transmission
ilar to one favoured by the two broadcasters into When the interim man- media outlets speculated of articles marked ©The Slovak Spectator, as well as for the public circulation of reproductions of these articles,
in compliance with the 33rd article and 1st paragraph of the Copyright Law. Media monitoring is provided
former culture minister RTVS should save the state agement took over they said throughout 2010 that STV by Newton, IT, SMA and Slovakia Online with the approval of the publisher. Advertising material contained herein
is the responsibility of the advertiser and is not a written or implied sponsorship, endorsement or investigation of such
Marek Maďarič, who is now €1.65 million in just the first no major reshuffling would was on the verge of financial commercial enterprises or ventures by The Slovak Spectator or The Rock s.r.o. ISSN 1335-9843.
an MP for opposition party year. But the overall debt of occur within the television collapse. Address: The Rock, s.r.o., Lazaretská 12, 811 08 Bratislava. IâO: 313 86 237.
6 February 14 – 20, 2011

Looking to Europe
Geothermal energy eyed

Following more Investment groups

Arca Capital
active in Slovakia

sophisticated paths Arca Capital is a private equity group active primarily in

supplying venture capital in central and eastern Europe.
It is active in the construction, machine engineering,
information and communication technology, energy,
are the principles of Penta's food and geodesy industries. It has current investments
The maturing success to this day.” in Slovakia, the Czech Republic and Ukraine. Arca Capital
of Slovak In 2005, Penta changed its has offices in Bratislava, Prague, London and Kiev.
structure to that of a private Arca Capital was established in 2003 through trans-
investment equity company but Penta formation of a group of companies belonging to All
and private notes that it is different from a Finance Services which had been active in the Slovak
typical private equity fund in capital market since 1994.
equity groups that it is only capital from its www.arcacapital.com
five partners that is invested
through an evergreen fund
Spectator staff from other investors.
“The fundraising question ISTROKAPITAL SE is a Cyprus-based investment group
appears periodically but we dating back to 1996 which owns 100 percent of
THE FALL of the communist have always decided that ISTROKAPITAL SLOVENSKO. The companies in the group
regime in November 1989 in freedom and flexibility in de- are primarily involved in banking (Poštová Banka) and
Czechoslovakia and the en- cision-making is our top other areas of finance.
suing transformation of a priority,” writes Jozef www.istrokapital.eu
state-controlled economy in- The energy sector has proved attractive. Photo: Jana Liptáková Oravkin, a Penta partner, on
to a market economy opened the firm’s website.
new horizons and brought size of the Slovak market they schoolmates who wanted to Penta later penetrated J&T Group
previously unknown busi- extended their activities into become entrepreneurs and markets in the Czech Republic
ness opportunities to those neighbouring countries and founded Penta Brokers in 1993. and Poland and diversified its J&T Group dates back to 1995 and provides services in
who were ready for the risks beyond. What remains some- Between 1994 and 1997 the portfolio and began investing private banking, asset management for private clients
of doing business. The 1990s what different in Slovakia firm acted as typical stock- in real estate. and institutions, investment banking and project
was a period of both small compared with private equity brokerage and invested The history of J&T Group is financing. It has investments in the food processing,
and large privatisations in firms abroad is that Slovak mostly in options. The firm’s similar in that it also started energy, finance, retail and wholesale, tourism,
Slovakia and the mushroom- private equity groups say they breakthrough deal came in as an activity of two school- entertainment and real estate industries. Its projects
ing of new businesses, a dec- are typically investing the 1996 when Penta gained con- mates, Patrik Tkáč and Ivan include construction of the River Park development,
ade sometimes referred to as funds of their owners, while trol of VÚB Kupón, the largest Jakabovič. Slovintegra, on the reconstruction of Grand Hotel Kempinski High Tatras
the ‘wild times’. It was also foreign private equity firms investment fund in Slovakia. other hand, was launched and Tower 115, among others. The group is primarily
when the first investment more often draw on funds Penta writes on its website with the aim of enabling em- active in the Czech Republic, Slovakia and the Russian
and private equity groups from institutional investors. that this deal brought a major ployees of the Slovnaft oil re- Federation.
emerged in Slovakia. The original investment change in its focus. finery to participate in the www.jtfg.com
In the 21st century, mak- companies began to emerge in “After VÚB Kupón, we had firm’s privatisation. Slovin-
ing private investments in Slovakia in the mid 1990s and enough capital to gain major- tegra writes on its website
Slovakia has become more subsequently transformed ity stakes in companies, re- that the firm withdrew from Penta Investments
sophisticated and attuned to themselves into private equity structure them, increase their Slovnaft in late 2005 and
Western standards. Private groups. For instance, Penta, value and then sell at a profit,” transformed itself into an in- Penta Investments is a central European investment
equity groups started to be one of the oldest investment Marek Dospiva, one of the vestment company. group specialising in private equity and real estate
more sector-oriented and be- firms in Slovakia, started as an founding members of Penta investments. Penta was established in 1993, first as
cause of the relatively small initiative of a group of writes on its website. “These See INVEST pg 8 a securities trader. In 2000, Penta began investing in
private equity projects and in 2005 added real estate as a
new business line. Penta is active in the energy, retail,

The crisis delivered a ‘tough lecture’ health-care, aerospace, machine engineering, private
banking, telecommunications, facility management and
entertainment industries. Its investments in the
Real estate was ecutive director of J&T Real Estate told The comparable in size and extent in Ukraine banking sector include Privatbanka and in the
Slovak Spectator. “This shows that even but in the Ukrainian context these are health-care sector it owns health insurer Dôvera, the
a mixed blessing for the crisis did not distract us from our trust smaller or mid-sized projects. But these network of Dr. Max pharmacies and ProCare medical
investment groups in real estate projects.” focus on the residential sector and centres. Penta is active in more than 10 European
Pelikán conceded that J&T Real Estate logistics.” countries, with offices in Prague, Bratislava, Warsaw,
felt some blows from the crisis but em- According to Velič, the crisis has Limassol (Cyprus) and Amsterdam.
phasised that this led to a change in its ap- clearly defined certain limits in particular www.pentainvestments.com
BY JANA LIPTáKOVÁ proach to projects, leading the firm to pay real estate investment sectors and
Spectator staff more attention to the needs and require- brought a broader variety of projects.
ments of its clients. “The crisis showed that a well-chosen Slavia Capital
Among the most well-known of J&T’s concept in a good locality is prospective
INVESTMENT and private equity groups real estate projects is the River Park com- during any phase of the economic cycle,” Slavia Capital dates back to 1995 and its priority areas of
eyed the boom in building and property plex on the north bank of the Danube said Velič, adding that projects which did investment are the energy, food, primary agriculture,
sales in the early years of this decade and River in Bratislava, with its apartments, not take into consideration broader rela- machine engineering, and chemical industries and
many entered what they thought was an office space, hotel, restaurants, and other tionships had to be changed and exagger- receivables and debt-collection. It has investments
unfailingly lucrative market by building attractions, including a seasonal outdoor ated expectations had to be corrected. But in 11 European countries but has a focus on central and
office complexes, logistics parks, residen- ice skating rink. Velič sees this as natural in an environ- eastern Europe.
tial properties and other kinds of commer- Real estate projects represent about 55 ment where demand is the driving force in www.slaviacapital.com
cial facilities. The economic and financial percent of Arca Capital’s investments. the market.
crisis over the past several years was a “Our group has historically not carried Penta Group began investing in the
very cold shower for those who had active out overly ambitious projects; we rather real estate sector only in 2005. Currently, Slovintegra Group
real estate projects and Slovakia’s invest- went into smaller projects or projects with real estate developments represent less
ment groups did not totally escape from a possibility of gradual realisation of the than 20 percent of Penta’s invested assets, Slovintegra Group was established in 1995 and has
the chilly water. investment, such as in phases,” Rastislav said Martin Danko, Penta’s PR manager, investments in the health-care, energy and
“Just during the deepest crisis period Velič, the financial and project manager of adding that the investment group has 11 manufacturing industries.
in the fall of 2008, J&T Real Estate spun off Arca Capital, told The Slovak Spectator. ongoing projects in Slovakia and the www.slovintegra.sk
from the J&T Group and under the owner- “Our biggest investment in either Slov- Czech Republic.
ship of Peter Korbačka created an inde- akia or the Czech Republic is the Liptovská Source: Investment groups, Book of Lists 2011
pendent holding,” Pavel Pelikán, the ex- Osada tourist resort. We have projects See PROPERTY pg 8 Compiled by Spectator staff
BUSINESS FOCUS February 14 – 20, 2011 7

Looking to Europe FOCUS shorts

groups in Slovakia? What is groups have ‘grown up’ to be The small market generates
BY JANA LIPTÁKOVÁ their current appetite for regional central and eastern insufficiently large invest- Slavia eyes geothermal energy
Spectator staff investment? European players with ambi- ment opportunities, with rel-
Stanislav Šumský (SŠ): tions to become players on a atively small revenues. These THE INVESTMENT group project, the SITA newswire
With regards to its size Slov- European level. In this re- fall through the investment Slavia Capital announced wrote in May.
THE SMALL size of the Slovak akia is an insufficiently at- spect I would assess their net of the global players. last May that it planned to The goal is to use geo-
market places limits on the tractive market for important activity positively, as these Czech, Slovak and central invest in geothermal energy thermal energy in the vil-
activities of local investment foreign sectoral investors and private equity groups repres- European financial investors in eastern Slovakia, specific- lage to generate electricity
and private equity groups but locally owned companies do ent a limited number of Slov- are starting to be optimistic ally in the village of Ter- and heat, and to develop
this characteristic is not not usually meet the required ak investors that make ac- and feel an improvement, es- iakovce near Prešov. That leisure-time activities such
unique to Slovakia. The main size criteria. Transactions quisitions abroad and are pecially in financial condi- month Peter Gabalec, the as an aquapark and a salt
difference, when compared which abroad are considered present on markets other tions, i.e. loans available to chairman of the board of dir- spa to support tourism in
with abroad, is that Slovak to be small or medium-sized, than Slovakia. carry out new transactions. ectors of Slavia Capital, the region, as well to heat
private equity groups typic- exceeding €100 million in In terms of investment signed a memorandum of greenhouses for agricultural
ally invest the money of their value, occur only very rarely appetite I believe that all TSS: What effect has the understanding with Pavel purposes. The total invest-
owners, while foreign private in Slovakia. In Slovakia, Slovak private equity groups economic decline had on Hagyari, the mayor of ment in the project will be
equity groups invest money transactions of between €10 are looking for opportunities these groups? Prešov, and Miroslav known only after a feasibil-
on behalf of other institu- million and €30 million, the that fulfil their investment SŠ: There are only two Angelovič, the mayor of ity study is completed but
tional investors. size that is attractive for local criteria. Some Slovak private preconditions for carrying out Teriakovce, to begin joint first estimates were around
The Slovak Spectator financial investors and equity groups are becoming a transaction. The first one is implementation of the €30 million.
spoke with Stanislav Šumský, private equity groups, are re- more sector-focused. For ex- that there is a seller with a
director of the mergers and garded as large. ample, Penta focuses on realistic estimate of the value
acquisitions department at But this is not a special healthcare, energy, banking of their company, and on the Arca buys Natura Food Additives
KPMG in Slovakia, Rastislav characteristic of Slovakia: in and real estate, and J&T on other side there is a buyer
Gajarský, manager of Price- general it is valid for the banking, hotels and the en- who has enough funds at their THE CLOSED-END fund Arca Natura Food Additives is
waterhouseCoopers Slov- whole of central Europe, ex- ergy sector. This helps them disposal to wrap up the trans- Capital CEE acquired 80 per- a Czech company active in
ensko, and Jozef Mathia, cept Poland. This situation to become experts in respect- action and is willing to reflect cent of Natura Food Addit- production of additives for
senior manager in transac- creates an opportunity for ive sectors and realise oppor- the value of the company in ives company, the TASR all segments of the food in-
tion advisory services at financial investors and tunities more quickly and their offer. newswire reported in dustry as well as serving as a
Ernst & Young in the Slovak private equity groups who, by more efficiently. Between 2009 and 2010 we November, writing that this technological consultancy.
Republic, about local invest- consolidating more compan- Jozef Mathia (JM): Let’s saw a drop in activity in terms acquisition was part of Arca’s Arca Capital stated that it
ment and private equity ies, optimally at the central divide the question into two of the number of realised main investment strategy: to believes the food industry is
groups, their appetite for ac- and eastern European (CEE) parts, i.e. operation of global transactions. But this does make private equity invest- highly stable and that this
quisitions, and whether the regional level, can manage to and local investment and not mean that financial in- ments in small and medium- was proven during the eco-
crisis has brought them some create entities which by their private equity groups. While vestors and private equity sized companies in the Czech nomic downturn when
cheap purchases. size and scope can draw the the operation of global players groups had no interest in ac- Republic and Slovakia. much of the industry main-
attention of global players. in Slovakia is negligible, the quiring companies. Instead, Arca used its own re- tained its sales and profits.
The Slovak Spectator (TSS): Rastislav Gajarský (RG): operation of local players was the crisis affected the expect- sources as well as funds from
How would you assess the To assess their activity at the active prior to the crisis. The ations of financial investors. an acquisition loan from a Compiled by Spectator staff
activity of Slovak invest- moment I would not focus reason for the absence of bank for the purchase, TASR For more focus shorts go to
ment and private equity only on Slovakia as these global players is quite simple. See SURVEY pg 8 wrote. www.spectator.sk


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8 February 14 – 20, 2011 BUSINESS FOCUS

INVEST: Firms adapted to big changes SURVEY: Double

Continued from pg 6 Benčúrik pointed out,
however, that via the
to the changes and we can
again apply economic models
example with the Yanmar
concern. Also due to the
effect of the crisis
There are six main in- products that are made by which already take into ac- crisis, the potential for our Continued from pg 7 and increasing the value of
vestment and private equity companies within Slavia Cap- count the changes in the business with collecting re- their investments.
groups currently active in ital, the group is known on market environment.” ceivables has been growing. They assumed that sellers RG: The main difference
Slovakia, of which Penta and almost all continents, citing Velič said Arca Capital has We are working on a number would reflect the worsened is that Slovak private equity
J&T are the biggest. Over time the mine sweeper Božena not needed to change any of of acquisition targets which performance of their compan- groups typically invest the
all of these groups have be- that is made in Slovakia as its criteria in terms of the size we could reach this year if ies in lower price expecta- money of their owners (phys-
come more focused on specific well as its Locust building of an investment or its rate of there is a positive develop- tions, and that investors ical persons) while foreign
business sectors. mechanism. return. ment in the market.” would acquire them more private equity groups invest
“Penta invests primarily Arca Capital is a private Some investment groups In 2009 and 2010 Penta cheaply than before the crisis. the money of other institu-
into the energy, retail, health equity group active mainly in had expected that the eco- completed 17 transactions; This has obviously not tional investors such as pen-
care, aerospace, machine en- supplying venture capital in nomic crisis would bring new most were acquisitions. happened to the extent that sion funds and insurance
gineering, private banking, central and eastern Europe. acquisition opportunities but “We have entered new investors had assumed. companies.
telecommunications, facility Rastislav Velič, the finan- these have not come true. branches. For example, in late RG: The economic crisis JM: Global private equity
management and enter- cial and project manager for “The expectations that we 2010 we signed a contract for had a double effect on the groups enter projects in Slov-
tainment industries,” Martin Arca Capital, told The Slovak had in 2008 have not the purchase of a majority activities of private equity akia rather as partners in fin-
Danko, the PR manager of Spectator that the group has materialised,” said Danko of stake in Dexia Banka Slov- groups. The first was on the ancing projects for which
Penta, told The Slovak Spec- primarily focused its invest- Penta. “During the economic ensko and in this way we have amount and price of external smaller players in the region
tator. “Its partners are ments in the construction, decline the [purchase] price of entered the retail banking capital (debt) to finance their lack funds. Or they enter
mostly prominent financial machine, information and companies has not decreased sector,” said Danko of Penta. acquisitions and ongoing in- Slovakia via acquisitions of
institutions operating in communication technolo- significantly. Thus between “We also consider equally im- vestments. The second was international firms which
central Europe and con- gies, energy, food and 2008 and 2010 there were only portant the acquisition of Ig- in the form of disrupted IRR have Slovak subsidiaries. Ba-
sultancy companies.” geodesy industries. a few acquisition opportunit- lokrak and its fusion with Ig- (internal rate of return) ex- sically, each of them wants a
J&T Group’s range of busi- “This does not mean that ies via so-called ‘fire sales’.” lotex that has made Penta and pectations in some of their maximal increase in the value
ness investments is also ex- we avoid so-called opportun- Slavia Capital’s Benčúrik its partners the most import- portfolio companies. Basic- of their investment at a level
tensive and includes the en- ity investments in other noted that the economic crisis ant market player in the pro- ally, all private equity groups somewhere between 15 and 30
ergy, banking, tourism and segments,” Velič added. has suppressed demand and duction and distribution of needed to reassess their ex- percent annually. On the oth-
entertainment sectors. “Within the investment pro- has also prolonged the period frozen food in Poland.” pectations in IRR terms for er hand, each of them has
Slavia Capital, which ori- cess we cooperate with con- required to keep investments, Velič of Arca Capital sees a some of their portfolio com- specific characteristics, in-
ginated as a stockbroker in its sultancy companies and bank- pointing out that one of the new opportunity in recover- panies. Slovak private equity vestment criteria, markets
early days and later became a ing houses and afterwards most negative impacts of the ing failed loans, either cor- groups were no exception. and branches where they in-
major institution providing each project has its own spe- crisis was the drop in em- porate or personal, saying JM: Globally the number vest and especially access to
opportunities to invest in se- cific circle of partners.” ployment as companies re- that banks in general are not as well as the value of acquisi- individual investments, and
curities that drew interest in- duced costs through layoffs. prepared to fully bear losses tions carried out by private this is the main distinction.
come from international mar- Few ‘fire sales’ But as every cloud has a and thus purchasing and equity companies decreased.
kets, has now established stra- materialised silver lining, representatives managing receivables could In total, private equity com- TSS: What benefits or down-
tegic priority sectors to which of the investments groups be economically viable. He panies carried out 1,612 ac- sides do you see in the activ-
it targets its investments. “The economic crisis has a note that the crisis has also sees purchases of com- quisitions in 2009, 35 percent ities of investment and
“These include the energy global character and it more or brought new opportunities panies as appealing, saying less than in 2008. Deal value private equity groups for
sector, fuels and renewable less hit all segments of the and forced their firms to be that after years of optimism shrank by as much as 56 per- Slovakia and its economy?
resources, the food industry market,” said Velič of Arca more active and look for new and investment madness, cent. We saw a similar trend SŠ: In general, the bene-
and agricultural production, Capital. “Of course, it affected approaches. owners are coming back to also in Slovakia. fits as well as the negatives of
mechanical engineering, the us as well. The impacts of the “The economic crisis has the earth and prices have be- In 2011 we expect an in- investment activities and
chemical industry and debt- crisis are visible in acquisition increased the acquisition po- come more realistic. crease in the number of an- private equity groups in
collection business,” Peter financing as well as in in- tential of industrial assets “We will focus on cases nounced and completed Slovakia are the same as
Benčúrik, the spokesperson of vestment expectations, either and markets,” Benčúrik said. where after re-structuring on transactions, but the volume anywhere abroad. A special
Slavia Capital told The Slovak ours or those of our partners. “During the time being our the side of liabilities it is real- of individual transactions will characteristic is that with re-
Spectator, adding that the When assessing opportunities companies are attacking new istic to expect survival and be probably lower than during gards to the absence of a cap-
group does not exclude any we are more careful. Pre-crisis territories. The behaviour of development of a project or an the pre-crisis years. ital market in Slovakia,
other investment opportunit- development scenarios which global players has changed. investment,” said Velič. “Or In general we can say private equity investments
ies with an attractive return were characterised as pessim- They are looking for local we want to orient toward pur- that expectations for returns are basically the only oppor-
on investment and that its istic have become realistic partners in efforts to reach chase of claims and their act- on investment are lower tunity to obtain financing via
current geographic priority is and optimistic scenarios have economic effectiveness. As a ive management, through than they were in 2008. This equity as an alternative to
the region of central and east- had to be re-written. But the consequence, we have sever- which it is possible to reach an trend was significantly vis- debt financing. In some seg-
ern Europe. market has already adapted al cooperative projects, for economic return.” ible already in 2009. ments private equity groups
represent the only possible
TSS: Do investment and buyer, thereby creating an

PROPERTY: Becoming more selective private equity groups in

Slovakia differ in any way
from those operating
exit opportunity for com-
pany owners. Otherwise
owners would have no pos-
Continued from pg 6 construction of speculative projects, abroad? sibility to leave their busi-
either in the office or residential segment, SŠ: It is necessary to dis- nesses in a standard way.
“Penta is focusing on office space, re- like in the past when potential tenants tinguish investment groups, JM: Investment and
tail trade, and leisure-time and enter- were sought only after construction had which we can regard rather as private equity groups are mo-
tainment activities as well as prepara- begun or even after a project was finished. loose groupings of investors, tivated especially by returns
tion of sites for new projects,” Danko “Balancing supply and demand will from private equity, which is on investment. These repres-
told The Slovak Spectator. “Penta’s also put price levels of projects on a more a standardised term abroad. ent in most cases 20-30 per-
planned real estate investments will realistic basis: bad projects will be sold for The latter represents a com- cent annually. This means
total €1.1 billion by 2018.” low prices, or not at all, and good projects pany which via its funds ad- that these groups invest
The crisis slowed down some of which offer clients an added value be- ministers investments in mostly in companies in
Penta’s projects as it has had to respond to cause of location, services or amenities clearly defined sectors and/or strongly developing segments
the market situation and falling demand. will have a chance of higher prices and countries, has publicly (for example the internet in
“We put stress especially on projects good selling rates,” Pelikán said. known investment criteria, the early 1990s) or in seg-
which were in the most advanced Velič agreed that the crisis has fixed returns on investments, a ments where they see space
phase,” Danko said. “For example, the certain distortions in the real estate mar- way of assessing assets, stable for consolidation of the mar-
third phase of the Digital Park office ket and in 2011 his company expects a re- and specialised teams, is able ket (for example a lot of smal-
project, where the approval process is vival of investment in residential real es- to obtain new financing, etc. ler companies which can util-
soon to be completed will see construc- tate because many of Slovakia’s ‘panelák’ In this respect it is necessary ise synergies). Thus we think
tion start in March.” apartment buildings are approaching the to say that the private equity that these companies repres-
The third phase of Digital Park will Digital Park II won an architecture award. end of their useful life, in industrial real groups operating in Slovakia ent certain benefits for Slov-
Photo: Courtesy of Cigler Marani Architects
bring more than 21,000 square metres of estate because production is increasing are taking a more and more akia because they support de-
office space to the Bratislava market and bringing demand for new logistic standardised path and that velopment of the market
and it is expected to be finished by the ‘speculative’ investment will dominate,” centres, and in tourist facilities as that we have seen significant where it is difficult to obtain
end of 2012. said Danko. “Projects which will be as sector is also waking up. headway over recent years. financial capital directly from
Penta expects that the real estate close as possible to the optimal ratio “But the lecture [delivered by the This is especially true for the banks. On the other hand, it is
market in the future will demand that in- between price, quality and locality will crisis] was tough and for that reason most active private equity a bit of a pity that they do not
vestors be more selective in choosing have the best chance of success.” growth in the real estate sector will be groups, which are eyeing employ their rich experience
projects than they were before the crisis. Pelikán of J&T Real Estate expects a gradual and more cautious,” Velič said, many potential acquisition from various branches to
“For example, in residential construc- more balanced ratio in supply and de- adding: “But only until we forget this targets, taking part in stand- carry out more acquisitions in
tion the end-user who wants to buy an mand and a greater degree of realism, say- lecture and again slip into exaggerated ard tenders, actively working segments and companies
apartment for living and not as a ing that one should not expect massive optimism.” with acquired companies where returns are lower.
BUSINESS February 14 – 20, 2011 9
SALE: Six plants may go on the block RATE: Pricey mortgages
Continued from pg 1 The IFP recommended
Continued from pg 1 Ongoing problems troubles that setting the interest rate
Vladimír Dohnal, direct- for a loan should be made
The state privatisation agency, the Na- One issue that has attracted signific- or of Symsite Research, a more transparent by defin-
tional Property Fund (FNM), has now been ant media attention is the golden para- think tank, said he has no in- ing it as a market bench-
tasked with designing a privatisation pro- chutes given to managers at Košice-based formation about cartel mark plus a client risk sur-
cess. The sale will happen in the form of a heating plant TEKO, where two execut- agreements and does not charge based on the
tender and the state will be looking for ives received severance payments of consider it likely that any applicant’s risk profile.
strategic investors. €100,000 and €90,000 respectively, des- formal arrangement exists. However, Laznia, repres-
The heating plants affected are located pite holding their posts in the company “Banks do not have to enting lenders, cited a
in Bratislava, Trnava, Žilina, Martin (in for only a few weeks or months. create any formal cartel; European Commission sur-
Žilina region), Zvolen (Banská Bystrica Radičová admitted that the practice when three banks control 75 vey from 2009 which he said
Region) and Košice. of selecting and remunerating managers percent of the market they found bank fees in Slovakia to
Robert Fico, the leader of Slovakia’s in companies where the state holds have quite extensive power be among the lowest not just
largest opposition party, Smer, said that stakes has proved problematic and the to control prices and other across the European Union
he would be keeping an eye on the planned government is therefore planning to in- conditions without formal but also among the EU’s new-
privatisation, which he dubbed “one of the troduce normal competitive selection agreements,” Dohnal told er member states.
biggest robberies ever seen in Slovakia”. Košice heating plant. Photo: TASR procedures with the results made public. The Slovak Spectator. Nonetheless, Dohnal said
“We rejected this sale of state “The coalition is moving away from The Financial Policy In- that mortgage interest rates
property,” Fico said, as quoted by the istries and the privatisation agency will political nominations,” Radičová said, stitute (IFP), a think tank here are too high, considering
SITA newswire, referring to the gov- decide the share that will be sold. adding that her team does not want to which is part of the Finance Slovakia’s economic funda-
ernment he led between 2006 and 2010. One day before the cabinet made its pursue a pattern followed by its prede- Ministry, on February 4 re- mentals.
“It was worth it, because the firms were decision, Cofely, an energy company, cessors which had been proved wrong. leased a report suggesting “A concentrated market
providing households with heat in a stated that it fully supported the Economy Minister Juraj Miškov, a that Slovakia’s citizens are does not bode well for
stable manner at stable prices. This government’s plan to privatise the heat- nominee of the Freedom and Solidarity probably paying too much competition,” Dohnal said,
privatisation has no other goal than to producing companies. The company in- (SaS) party, suggested that he would pro- for their mortgages. It ar- adding that clients them-
fill someone’s pocket. It is senseless be- dicated it would be interested in invest- pose banning political nominees in state- gued that changes might selves have a way of influen-
cause privatisation will increase the ing if the privatisations were to go ahead. owned companies from receiving sever- now be necessary. cing this situation.
prices of heat.” “We’re convinced that privatisation ance payments, or would at least place According to the IFP, “If clients, in large num-
However, the FNM in its analysis of the heating plants is a good way to se- limits on them. property loans make up two bers, started using cheaper
leans towards a sale of state shares in cure effective management and the fu- “State nominees on management thirds of total loans to offers by smaller banks – be-
the heating companies, citing a long- ture of the energy sector in Slovakia,” boards and supervisory boards won’t be households and regular cause in general it is true that
term fall in the volume of heat sold and a Cofely general director and management entitled to any severance payments monthly mortgage payments smaller and medium-sized
related drop in profits. The FNM also board chairman Peter Strýček said in a whatsoever,” Miškov said, as quoted by significantly burden the banks offer cheaper loans
pointed to the need for investment to statement. the TASR newswire. budgets of families and indi- than the three large banks –
make the heating plants more envir- Cofely is part of the GDF Suez energy Media reports suggest that consid- viduals. The IFP highlighted the larger banks would have
onmentally friendly, and to reduce their group and has been involved in heating erable mismanagement at some heating what it called a relatively un- to reduce their prices,”
debt burden. management in Slovakia since 2009, when companies took place under the derdeveloped rental housing Dohnal said.
The generally outdated heat-produ- it became part of Hetech Services Holding. 2006-2010 Fico government. Specific- segment in Slovakia and Mikloš also said that an-
cing technology in use and the need for It is also the biggest company in the sphere ally, several questions have been raised wrote that for most Slovaks other problem is a certain “in-
investment in development, as well as of facility management in Slovakia, man- about activities under managers nom- taking out a loan is the only formation asymmetry”
huge opportunities for cost-cutting aging more that 2,000 properties. inated by Fico’s junior coalition partner, way to buy property. between a loan applicant and
were also listed by the FNM as reasons Another company, Dalkia, has also the Slovak National Party (SNS). In one In long-term loans like the bank, which puts clients
why the companies should be sold. Oth- indicated an interest, with Vincent Bar- example, the Žilinská Teplárenská heat- mortgages even a small into a rather weak negotiating
er factors supporting a sale were their bier confirming that the company would ing company, while headed by an SNS change in the interest rate position in relation to the
record of disadvantageous procure- enter negotiations about conditions for nominee, Juraj Králik, sold 60,000 can mean a relatively large bank when a new interest rate
ment, low return on investment and de- the sale. However, he also said that at tonnes of excess emissions quotas in difference in the amount of is being decided, the TASR
clining competitiveness. this point, due to the fact that over the 2008 at half the market price. SaS sub- the monthly payment, the newswire reported.
According to the FNM, the existing past five years the economic conditions sequently nominated Králik to a senior IFP stated. Dohnal stated it is neces-
management teams have preferred to of the heating companies have changed, position at another heating company The IFP also noted that sary to increase the level of
pursue short-term goals rather than it is not possible for the company to spe- after last year’s election. The party said the market is displaying public access to information,
long-term needs, in fundamental contra- cify which heating companies Dalkia after the publication of reports about signs of significant concen- and said the Finance Ministry
diction to the needs of businesses in the would target. the dubious sale of emissions quotas at tration among the largest can help.
heat production sector. The Union of Towns and Cities of Žilinská Teplárenská that Králik would banks. “Increasing the total in-
“We expect that after privatisation Slovakia said that the cities the compan- be dismissed. At the same time, it said, formation literacy of clients
investors will speed up the introduction ies serve should be allowed to obtain The Trnava heating company, now mortgage providers have would help and here the state
of modern ways of management and ser- either 100 percent, a majority share of 51 controlled by the Most-Híd party, also accumulated an informa- could, for example, help by
vices with added value,” the FNM wrote percent, or at least a minority share in had its own scandal over a dubious sale of tion advantage. And, ac- changing the curricula and
in its analysis. “Improved management the firms being sold. emissions quotas. Between 2008 and 2009 cording to the IFP, banks adding an emphasis on finan-
of the companies will bring higher prof- “Heating production is unambigu- the company sold emission quotas at may have profited to the cial literacy at schools,”
itability and higher collection of taxes for ously a business of local importance, €0.01 per tonne despite the market price tune of tens of millions of Dohnal said.
the state budget.” which means that it is not a strategic being around €20 per tonne. Most-Híd euros at the expense of cli- Laznia said that the SBA
Though the exact volume of shares property and it can be successfully de- said it had instructed the new director of ents because of deficiencies will not resist the efforts of the
that will be put up for sale has not yet been veloped only when it intertwined, in the company to sack two managers. in the way rules governing Finance Ministry to make cli-
decided, the state will sell at least 51 per- terms of property, with the payment of the state sub- ents better informed, as long
cent of its stake in the companies. Accord- municipalities,” Marián Minarovič, the Adam Valček contributed sidy for mortgage loans as the proposal is meaningful.
ing to Mikloš, an analysis by relevant min- union’s chairman, wrote in a statement. to this report were drafted. “However, we think that
The IFP compared in- the state should not forget
CLASSIFIEDS terest rates in Slovakia and about activities aimed at in-
REAL ESTATE six other countries in the creasing the financial literacy
FOR RENT: eurozone. The countries of the population,” he said.
For RENT A renovated, corner building apartment, 2nd floor, on were picked based on sever- To back his point Laznia
- apartments & houses: Kozia and Konventna ideal for a couple without children, al criteria such as geograph- cited the example of an indic-
• 1-3-room apartments – Vajnorská, someone wanting a peaceful, central pied-à-terre in ic proximity or similarity in ator of annual percentage rate
Bôrik, downtow, historical center... Bratislava or running a small business from home.
• 4-5-room apartments – Bôrik hill, the structure of their eco- costs which has been used in
Mudroňova, city center, Koliba,..... nomies. Slovakia for comparing con-
• family houses – Kramáre, Horský The 135 sq m light-filled apartment has high ceilings and
natural oiled oak parquet flooring throughout. The doors are all Within this comparison, sumer loans for more than 10
park, Polus, Ružinov,Vrakuňa and
many, many others... solid oak, with glass panels to lighten the space. The reception Slovakia had the highest in- years.
room is a magnificent 45 sq m corner room, with seven high terest rates for all fixed-rate He says that an SBA sur-
www.madison.sk, 0905 - 659 156
madison@nextra.sk windows on two sides. The kitchen has handmade cupboards, property loans. The interest vey found that less than a fifth
C 3655 a new stainless steel and cast iron Baumatic cooker, and rate for loans with one-year of Slovaks were able to under-
a large Liebherr fridge freezer. A Buderus gas-fired boiler provides fixed-rates in October 2010 stand it.
RELIGIOUS SERVICES hot water and heat. The bedroom has a modern-style solid stood at 5.7 percent in Slov- The Finance Ministry has
ENGLISH LANGUAGE WORSHIP oak bed with a new, high quality mattress. The bathroom has akia, while the eurozone av- prepared several changes to
Bratislava International Church Hansgrohe fittings and Huppe shower cabinet. The lighting
erage was 3.8 percent – and the system that subsidises
Sundays, 9:30 at historic is simple Murano glass. Airconditioning, telecoms and LAN
Small Lutheran Church cabling throughout. the rate in Austria was only housing loans; these are now
(Malý evanjelický kostol) in central Bratislava
The apartment is for rent at 1250 EUR per month, with 3.3 percent, the IFP reported. undergoing interdepartment-
(near Hodzovo namestie);
on Lycejna at intersection a minimum rental period of 18 months starting April 2011. Interest rates in Slov- al review.
with Panenska 26/28. A deposit of 2500 EUR is payable on contract signature. akia did not mimic trends The ministry also in-
Children's Sunday School provided.
Everyone Welcome.
For further information and images of the space, please observed in other countries, tends to foster more compet-
Information at 02-5443-3263 contact info@candole.com where there was a signific- ition among the banks,
Web Site: ant drop in interest rates which it says should result in
www.bratislavainternationalchurch.org Strictly no agencies
during 2009. lower banking fees.
C 3573 C 3634 C 3670
10 February 14 – 20, 2011 CULTURE

Devínska Nová Ves’ Croats Western SLOVAKIA

l MUSICAL: Rámajána – This
original Slovak musical, in-
spired by an ancient Indian
epic, combines the story of
Prince Rama with modern
European culture. Composed
by Ľubomír Dolný and cho-
reographed by Mariana
Malatincová, it is directed by
Igor Šimeg.
Starts: February 15, 10:00
and 19:00; DK Dúbravka,
Saratovská 2/A. Admission:
€10. Tel: 02/6920-3030; 02/5293
-3321, www.ticketportal.sk,
Bratislava THE CENTRAL European Jazz Connection was put together by
l BALKAN GYPSY MUSIC: Polish pianist Kuba Stankiewicz and apart from him, it includes
THIS PHOTO of Devínska had back home – through agri- place to another did little to Boban I Marko Markovič Czech counterbass player Jaromír Honzak, Hungarian trum-
Nová Ves dates back to 1933 – culture and viticulture. burnish their image. Orkestar – The Serbian gypsy peter Kornél Fekete-Kovács, Slovenian saxophonist Primož
tornado Boban, with his son
the period before the muni- Cultural and tempera- However, gradually they Fleischman, Slovak drummer Marián Ševčík and Slovak guitarist
Marko and his band, has
cipality was swallowed by mental differences brought settled in and melted in. already visited and enchanted Matúš Jakabčic. Jazz is an international language that can non-
Bratislava. problems when it came to co- Not in Devínska Nová Slovakia. Now he’s back. etheless also include national specifics, as visitors will experi-
The village was once existing with the locals, at Ves, however. Croats re- Starts: February 15, 20:00; ence at a concert on Thursday, February 17, in Bratislava’s Klub
called Chorvátska tained their culture Majestic Music Club, Kar- za Zrkadlom, Rovniankova 3; tickets cost €5-€7. For more in-
Nová Ves (Croatian and language and patská 2. Admission: €19.90- formation, please visit www.kzp.sk. Photo: Courtesy of KZP
New Village) – not
coincidentally, as
Croat refugees flee-
HISTORY TALKS in the 16th century
there were more
Croat residents
€25. Tel: 02/5293-3321; www.
ness) initiative highlights the Starts: February 20, 16:00;
Bratislava fact that as well as Jews and Central Slovak Museum,
ing the Balkans than Slovaks in l LIVE MUSIC: Krst CD Michal other ethnic and religious Thurzov dom, SNP Square 4.
from Ottoman invaders chose least at first. The Croats’ Devínska Nová Ves. Bugala Group – A new Slovak groups and political oppon- Admission: €3.50. Tel: 048/
it as their new home. demonstrative nature and The village preserved its CD is launched in traditional ents, the Nazis also perse- 4125-897; www.stredoslovens
The newcomers quickly self-confidence were often predominantly Croat charac- style with a “krst”, i.e. bap- cuted homosexuals, bisexuals kemuzeum.sk.
adapted to this environment perceived negatively by Slov- ter until the end of the 19th tism, offering a combination and transsexuals.
and started earning their liv- aks, and their habit of fre- century. of jazz and electronic music, Open: Tue-Sun 14:00-19:00 Námestovo
ing in the same way as they quently moving from one By Branislav Chovan supported by DJ Lion Dee. until February 25; OPEN Gal- l EXHIBITION: Oravská
Starts: February 14, 21:00; lery, Baštová 5. Admission: drevená plastika / Orava Wood
ADVERTISEMENT Nu Spirit Club, Šafárikovo free. Tel: 02/5441-3316; www. Carving – An exhibition of
Square 7. Admission: €5. Tel: ncsu.sk. items from the collection of
0948/855-449; www. the Orava Cultural Centre in-
nuspirit.sk. Skalica cluding wooden statues by A.
l LIVE BLUES: Bonzo & The Smoleň, J. Podskalan, S. On-
Bratislava Resonators – Within the Hud- drík, R. Veselý, P. Pohucký, Ľ.
l EXHIBITION: Bratislavské ba v meste / Music in the Orság, J. Špuler and J. Šeliga.
konfrontácie 1961-1965 – The Town concert programme, Open: Weekdays 9:00-
Bratislava Confrontations ex- this performance brings a 16:00 until March 4;
hibition presents the works of veteran of the Slovak blues Námestovo House of Culture.
the members of an informal scene to the local audience. Admission: free. Tel: 043/5864-
artists' association (M. Starts: February 18, 20:00; 978; www. osvetadk.sk.
Čunderlík, J. Jankovič, R. Fila, Corgoň Pub, Pod Hájkom.
J. Kočiš, E. Ovčáček, M. Admission: €2. Tel: 034/6648- Eastern SLOVAKIA

Urbásek, and others) who or- 152; www.hvm.lubosbena.sk.

ganised an underground ex- Prešov
hibition to compare their Central SLOVAKIA l MUSEUM: Kapitoly z dejín

Netrebko Schrott
works at least among them- odievania / Chapters from the
selves during communism. Banská Bystrica History of Clothing; Portréty
Open: Tue-Sat 14:00-18:00 l FLAMENCO LIVE: Los panovníkov a šľachty
until February 26; Galéria C. Remedios Trio – The Zelené Rakúsko-uhorskej monarchie
Majerníka, Ventúrska 9. Ad- tóny / Green Tones cycle of in- / Portraits of Emperors and
mission: free. Tel: 02/ timate concerts begins with a Nobles of the Austro-Hun-

5920-1605. performance by the three garian Monarchy – These two

members of Los Remedios, exhibitions offer an overview
Bratislava who play genuine flamenco of two quite different periods
l EXHIBITION: Berlin-Yog- music combined with other in local history.
jakarta – An exhibition organ- ethnic, world and jazz influ- Open: Tue-Fri 9:00-17:00,
ised by the Inakosť (Other- ences. Sun 14:00-18:00 until February
G r a n di o s e h ig h lig ht 28; Krajské múzeum, Hlavná
86. Admission: €0.60-€2. Tel:
of the ball season 051/7734-708; www.muzeum-
in S lovakia! 2011, 7pm presov.sk.
March 5th,
lding of SND Košice
The new bui
l EXHIBITION: Slovensko
pomáha / SlovakAid - Slovakia
helps – This exhibition shows
a selection of pictures from
humanitarian projects, to-
gether with S čím sa hrajú /
P r e s t i g i o u s c u l t u r a l e v e n t w i t h t h e w o r l d s t a r s o f o p e r a! What They Play With, an ex-
hibition of original toys of
Most popular and glamorous diva, operatic soprano
children from the poorest re-
A n n a N e t r e b ko gions of our planet.
Tickets available at: Great operatic bass-baritone
SND Box offices and www.ticketportal.sk THE 6TH Slovak Championship in riding the traditional “krne” Open: Mon-Fri (except
HOTLINE: +421 2 204 72 297 Erwin Schrott Organizers: Slovak National Theatre
wooden sleigh, Krňačkové Preteky 2011, also marks the 38th year Tues) 8:00-19:45, Sat
in cooperation with the organizer
A prominent operatic tenor of Crystal Wing
of the Krížna Prize & STV Cup competition. It takes place at the 8:00-13:00 until February 28;
General partner: Main partners:
José Cura Crystal Public Library of J. Bocatio,
Turecká ski resort near Banská Bystrica on February 19 and the
Wing Hviezdoslavova 5. Admission:
traditional Slovak “horny” sleighs – made from a single piece of free. Tel: 055/6225-290;
wood, without any nails – are expected to draw visitors from far www.vkjb.sk
Partners: Media partners:
and wide. www.fotoklubnova.sk.
Photo: Sme - Ján Krošlák By Zuzana Vilikovská
SP 90250/6

N A M E D A Y F E B R U A R Y 2 0 1 1
Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
Weather updates and forecasts from across Slovakia Valentín Pravoslav Ida Miloslava Jaromír Vlasta Lívia
can now be found at www.spectator.sk.
February 14 February 15 February 16 February 17 February 18 February 19 February 20

A Slovak’s name day (meniny) is as important as his or her birthday. It is traditional to present friends or co-workers with a small gift,
In cooperation with the Slovak Hydrometeorological Institute such as chocolates or flowers, and to wish them Všetko najlepšie k meninám (Happy name day)
CULTURE February 14 – 20, 2011 11
Bust of Dubček unveiled in Rome Slovak bestseller now
Italy helped
Speaker Hrušovský, told the
TASR newswire after the ce-
has an English version
bring the Slovak remony. KNIHA o cintoríne (Book originally published in 2000 in
He added that this is a suc- About a Cemetery), a novella Slovak and since reprinted
politician to cess in Slovak diplomacy and written by Daniela three times, was translated in-
prominence means further development of Kapitáňová but originally to eight languages, including
contacts between Italy and published under the pseud- Arabic and Belarusian.
Slovakia as well as Rome and onym Samko Tále, who is the Rajendra A. Chitnis, who
Bratislava. story’s main character, has teaches Russian, Czech and
BY JANA LIPTÁKOVÁ It was also during his been translated into English Slovak languages and liter-
Spectator staff travel to Rome and Bologna by Julia Sherwood with the ature from the 19th century
that the deep relationship title Samko Tále’s Cemetery to the present at Bristol Uni-
between Dubček and Italian Book. Sherwood began trans- versity, wrote in a review
A CITY square in Rome has a President Napolitano was lating the book into English published in The Times’ Lit-
new addition: a bust of reform- born, Vallo added. immediately after she had erary Supplement entitled
ist communist leader Alexan- Largo Bratislava in Rome now features a bust of Alexander It was Napolitano who finished reading the original Hell in a Handcart: “Samko
der Dubček that is within sight Dubček. Photo: Courtesy of the Slovak Embassy in Rome successfully pressured the version, without even having Tále is a physically and men-
of the building housing the Italian Communist Party to a contract. After the transla- tally stunted, forty-three-
Italian Foreign Affairs Min- teemed political figure in Italy. Vallo further quoted a condemn the invasion, led by tion was completed, she year-old resident of the Slov-
istry. The Dubček bust was un- Before the Velvet Revolution, statement made by Dubček in the Soviet Union, of Warsaw offered it to a publishing ak border town of Komárno,
veiled in a square now called which started in November a book by Luciano Antonetti Pact troops into Czechoslov- house specialising in eastern who supplements his disabil-
Largo Bratislava – Capitale 1989, the University of Bologna to emphasise why placing his akia in August 1968, the ČTK Europe but was rejected. ity pension by collecting
della Repubblica Slovacca – on had granted him an honorary monument in Rome is so jus- newswire wrote. However, Garnett Press ac- cardboard, and is writing his
January 20 in the presence of doctoral degree for his work tified and how the degree The invasion swept away cepted the manuscript and ‘book about a cemetery’ be-
top-ranking Italian guests, advocating human rights. from the Italian university the leadership of the following its initial success, cause an alcoholic at the sta-
many of whom knew Dubček “It was Italy which lifted helped Dubček to return to in- Czechoslovak Communist it seems that a second book by tion pub predicted it. His ed-
personally. the taboo laying on Dubček ternational political promin- Party (KSČ) under Dubček. Kapitáňová, Nech to zostane dying ‘stream-of-conscious-
Italian President Giorgio and keeping him hidden, even ence. When answering a Dubček (1921 – 1992) was one of v rodine (Let It Stay in the ness’ takes in the period from
Napolitano, Italian Foreign non-existent and isolated in question by a French journal- main leaders of the reformist Family), could also be pub- his grand- mother’s wartime
Minister Franco Frattini and Bratislava, for almost 20 ist about his journey from one wing of the KSČ and the prin- lished in English. acquisition of Jewish property
other leading representatives years,” Stanislav Vallo, the capital, Bratislava, to the fed- cipal organiser of the Prague The translator, who has (‘why would Jews need things
of Italian political, economic Slovak Ambassador to Italy, eral capital of Prague where Spring movement. After the re- Slovak origins and had first- like a piano in a concentration
and social life were present. said in a speech at the cere- he became speaker of federal form process was suppressed, hand experience of the com- camp, right?’), the Commun-
The Slovak delegation was led mony explaining the close re- parliament after 1989, Dubček Dubček resigned from his top munist regime, told the Sme ist period and post-independ-
by Pavol Hrušovský, Slovakia’s lationship between Dubček, said “the way from Bratislava position in the party and was daily she was enchanted and ence Slovakia. Observing
deputy speaker of parliament, Italy and Slovakia. “In Novem- to Prague was uncomfortable later ousted as a member. moved by Kniha o cintoríne people on his rounds, Samko
representatives of Bratislava ber 1988, the University of Bo- and, in particular, long from Dubček returned to polit- as it truly evoked the grim notes behaviour that he con-
City Council and Dubček’s logna granted Alexander both the view of time as well ical life after the fall of the to- atmosphere of 1970s siders to be against ‘the law’
sons, Pavol and Peter. The Dubček an honorary doctoral as geography because I trav- talitarian regime, becoming Czechoslovakia in which con- and reports it to the ‘High-
bronze bust is a work by Slovak degree and the Czechoslovak elled first via Rome and Italy”. the speaker of the new federal formism was encouraged and Ups’, as he has done since his
sculptor Igor Mosný mounted state representatives were “For us it was a great ges- parliament. He died in free thinking and free living schooldays under
on a travertine stand. forced to allow him to travel to ture and honour,” Tomáš November 1992 from injuries were suppressed. Communism.”
Dubček is a highly es- Italy to receive the degree.” Zálešák, an adviser to Deputy suffered in a car crash. Kapitáňová’s first work, Compiled by Spectator staff


Books in English now available

Freedom. Jonathan one day Ma admits that there The Cobra. Frederick
Franzen. Fourth Estate, is a world outside… Room Forsyth. Bantam Press
2010. was shortlisted for the Man 2010.
In his first novel since Booker Prize 2010. Bestselling thriller-
The Corrections – which won writer Frederick Forsyth in
the National Book Award in Kim. Rudyard Kipling. this book peels back the real-
2001 – Jonathan Franzen has Edited and with an intro- ity of the global cocaine
given us an epic of contem- duction by Alan Sandison. business, from jungle air-
porary love and marriage via Oxford World’s Classics, re- strips in Brazil to the man-
the family of Patty and Wal- issued 2008. grove swamps of Guinea-Bis-
ter Berglund. Freedom com- Kim, by Indian-born Brit- sau, from the barrios of
ically and tragically captures ish author Rudyard Kipling Bogotá to the boardrooms of
the temptations and burdens (1865-1936), who spent much Washington. One man, Paul
of too much liberty: the of his youth in the region he Deveraux, intellectual, ded-
thrills of teenage lust; the describes here, is the story of icated, utterly ruthless and
shaken compromises of Kimball O’Hara, the ex-CIA special ops, is given
middle age; the wages of orphaned son of an Irish sol- what seems like an im-
suburban sprawl; the heavy dier who spends his child- possible task: stop the drug
weight of empire. In chart- hood as a vagabond in barons, whatever the cost. At
ing the mistakes and joys of Lahore, India (now Pakistan). his disposal is anything he
the intensely realised char- With an old Tibetan lama he wants – but he must not
acters as they struggle to travels through India, en- cease until his mission is
learn how to live in an ever thralled by the “roaring completed.
more confusing world, Fran- whirl” of the landscape and Up till now, the drug car-
zen has produced an in- cities of richly coloured tels have been accustomed to
delible and deeply moving bazaars and immense di- the forces of global law and
portrait of our time. versity of people. Kipling order attempting to prevent
created a vision of harmony – them plying their trade. And
Room. Emma and of India – that unites the up to now those forces have
Donoghue. Picador Fiction, secular and the spiritual, the played by the rules. But that
2010. life of action with that of is about to change. The rules
Another book by Emma contemplation. no longer apply – and a dirty
Donoghue, an Irish writer Perceptions of Kipling’s war is about to get a whole
living in Canada, this is a works, although they en- lot dirtier.
sober, simple but disturb- joyed contemporary acclaim
ingly and provokingly told and popularity, have since
story of a small boy who lives been influenced by criticism This column is a selection by The
with his Ma in the Room, of his political opinions. Slovak Spectator of English-lan-
which is just 11 feet by 11 feet This book, published long guage books recently released in
large and has a locked door after his death with an ex- Slovakia; it does not represent
and a skylight. He watches pert preface, introduction an endorsement of any of the
TV and understands that the and explanatory notes, books selected. The column is
things he views are not real, provides an opportunity to prepared in cooperation with the
and that reality is just the reconsider his remarkable Oxford Bookshop Bratislava,
Room and him and Ma. Until lieftime achievements. located at Laurinská 9.
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India-50 Advi_258x345_GB.indd 1 09.02.2011 15:47:23 Uhr