Imperial Tobacco to move some production from Germany to Poland

Imperial Tobacco Group PLC plans to transfer production of 10 bln cigarettes from Germany to Poland as part of the ongoing restructuring of its manufacturing operations.

The move will generate annual cost savings of around 10 mln stg from 2007, and will cost 30 mln. Around 200 jobs will be cut in Berlin.

Tobacco companies are increasingly shifting production to countries were demand is growing, as consumption wanes in western countries. Cigarettes can also be produced more cheaply in less developed regions.

Imperial Tobacco has closed eight manufacturing sites since 2002.

Production will be reduced at a factory in Berlin, which will continue to manufacture cigarettes for the German market. The group's larger manufacturing site in Langenhagen, near Hannover, will become its main factory in Germany.

The German market has proved particularly difficult for tobacco companies in the last few years, where successive tax increases have led to a significant decline in demand.

Imperial said the restructuring will improve its competitive position in the country, which counts for around a fifth of the company's sales and profits.

Relocating production for cigarettes destined for Central and Eastern European markets to Poland will allow for further cost savings, the company said.

'Our continued focus on achieving the lowest overall manufacturing cost will ensure that we continue to strengthen our competitive position in a challenging environment,' manufacturing director David Cresswell said in a statement.

(Source: Forbes/AFX)

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Garnet Capital Opens Office in Warsaw, Poland

Garnet Capital Advisors, LLC today announced the opening of a new office in Warsaw, Poland to develop a loan-sale and investment banking practice in Poland and Central Europe.

In conjunction with this expansion, Garnet added a team of Polish nationals to its staff in both Warsaw and New York:

• Veteran Polish banker Barbara Sk³odowska, who comes to Garnet from Millennium Bank, will act as General Director of the Warsaw office;

• Polish marketing specialist Agata Obrebska will coordinate new-business development and marketing efforts from Garnet’s New York headquarters office.

“We are tremendously excited to tap into the great business opportunity in Poland and Central Europe,” said Garnet Managing Partner Sean McVity. “Garnet has a long history of developing new markets, and making it easier for credit-granting institutions to find liquidity for a wide variety of new products.

“Garnet has historically brought analytic discipline, strong disclosure standards and clear, sharp portfolio presentation which streamline the sale process and make value much clearer for sellers. With our 15 years of experience in selling all classes of corporate and retail loans, both performing and nonperforming, we believe we can play a role in the development of the Polish secondary loan markets and add significant value for financial institutions there".

Garnet Capital Advisors, LLC, headquartered in New York City, is a leading financial advisor in the debt-sales market, providing loan-sale advisory services to banks and other creditors, and capital-raising and M&A services to leading debt purchasers. Garnet has offices in New York, Warsaw and Tokyo. Bear, Stearns Merchant Banking and Drawbridge Special Opportunities Fund, L.P., a division of Fortress Investment Group, are minority investors in Garnet.

(Source: PressZoom.com)

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Imperial transfers production to Poland

Imperial Tobacco announced a reshuffle in its European operations today, as it looks to move production from Germany to the cheaper Eastern European region.

The Embassy and Lambert & Butler cigarette maker, said it would relocate the production of about 10bn cigarettes for Central and Eastern Europe from Germany to Poland.

Production will be reduced at the Berlin factory, said Imperial, though it will continue to manufacture cigarettes for the German market, adding that the facility remains an integral part of the group’s operations.

The restructuring, which should be completed in about a year, will result in the loss of about 200 jobs though will enhance efficiencies and result in lower overall costs in the region.

Cigarette companies are struggling to cope with the decline in demand for premium branded cigarettes in the face of rising taxation by government’s.

Rival British American Tobacco announced in July that it was effectively pulling out of the UK, with the closure of a number of factories and transferring production overseas to Singapore and Korea.

(Source: ShareCast)

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Apple growers unhappy with processing prices

Despite of the fact that the apple production in Poland may be lower this year comparing to 2004, the price on apples for processing into apple concentrate is decreasing. Earlier this commodity cost even USD 0.16/kg, today the price dropped down to USD 0.09-0.1/kg. The producers think that the processing enterprises are trying to decrease prices deliberately, at the same time the world prices on apple concentrate are still rather high.

We'll remind that Poland provides 30% of the total production of apple concentrate in the EU countries. However, the competition on this market has become strained during the recent years. Chinese producers promote aggressively their cheap apple concentrate on the EU market and even supply the commodity to some Polish producers of fruit juices.

Ukraine also expands its presence on the European market of apple concentrate despite of the apple orchards' acreage decrease. Ukrainian processors are paying USD 0.05-0.09/kg for apple raw materials, so that the final product is enough competitive.

Polish farmers are threatening the processors by strike if the concentrate producers do not increase the purchase price. At the same moment, some of Ukrainian enterprises - apple concentrate producers have to suspend temporary the purchase of apples for processing because of the excessive volumes available.

(Source: FreshPlaza)

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Polish- Azerbaijan inter-governmental commission for economic cooperation will be soon created in Azerbaijan.

This issue has been examined a year ago at the meeting of Vice Premier of Azerbaijan Abid Sharifov with the Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister of Poland Andzhei Zautsky, Ambassador Adviser of Poland to Azerbaijan told AzerTAj correspondent.

The government of Poland intends to cooperate with Azerbaijan in all areas, especially in the project of oil main line Odessa-Brody-Gdansk, from where Azeri and Kazakh oil flows.

According to the adviser, for today, volume of trade turnover of Polish side makes up 50 mln dollars per year.

(Source: AzerTAj)

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Poland among EU's top 10 net beneficiaries

Poland received 2.7 billion euro from the EU budget in 2004, which places Poland at the 10th place among all 25 EU member states. The number – reduced by Warsaw’s fees paid to the common purse – gives Poland a net profit of 1.4 billion euro. A report on last year’s budget, presented by the European Commission, indicates that all new member states benefited from entering the EU, yet the old members remain the biggest beneficiaries.

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British Minister for Trade, Investment and Foreign Affairs, Ian Pearson MP, will visit Poland on
19 September.
Mr. Pearson gave a speech at the annual OSCE meeting on human rights in Warsaw on 19 September. The focus was on the importance of promoting democracy, rule of law and good governance in OSCE participating states. He highlighted the need to meet international standards in both the upcoming parliamentary elections in Azerbaijan and the presidential elections in Kazakhstan later this year.

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Seminar-workshop on 'Proposal preparation for FP6', Poland

A seminar-workshop entitled 'Proposal preparation for FP6' will take place in Warsaw, Poland, on 4 October.

Organised by the Sixth Framework Programme (FP6) 'Boosting Baltic FP6' project consortium, the aim of this event is to promote successful project proposals in the current open call under the 'life sciences, genomics and biotechnology for health' priority. The target audience of workshop is researchers and National Contact Points from Estonia, Lithuania, Latvia and Poland.

The seminar will focus on the following issues:
-the current calls FP6-2005-LIFESCIEHEALTH-6, FP6-2005-LIFESCIEHEALTH-7;
- project budget planning;
- electronic online proposal preparation and submission.

For further information, please consult the following web address:

(Source: CORDIS)

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IBM to open R&D centre in Poland

IBM said it is to open a research and development centre in Krakow in southern Poland following the signing today of an agreement with the Polish minister for the economy Jacek Piechota.

'This is above all an investment in human potential and new technologies,' said Piechota.

The centre, the first of its kind in central and eastern Europe, is expected to be operational in two years and will employ 200 workers.

The total value of the investment has not been disclosed, but the Polish Treasury said it is investing 205,000 eur in the project.

(Source: AFX)

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Wizz Air reinforces its leadership in Poland and sets foot in Eastern Europe

Wizz Air, Central and Eastern Europe`s largest low-fare, low-cost airline commenced services between London and Poznan , Poland and Budapest and Sofia, Bulgaria on Sunday 18th September. The first flights are up to 100% booked and forecast indicate well over 80% loadfactor for the next 3 months.

Wizz Air is the first low cost carrier that offers its affordable and comfortable flights to the Bulgarian public and those who wish to fly to this beautiful region, well before Bulgaria joins the EU. Wizz Air currently offers 4 weekly flights from Sofia to Budapest and to London, Frankfurt, Malmo and Paris via Budapest.

Poznan is currently served by four flights a week, but due to a very strong demand for Wizz Air`s Poznan-London Luton service more flights will be added in winter. Starting from 1 December, the airline will increase its capacity by 25% adding its fifth weekly flight. This success will be followed by new routes to be launched early 2006 which will be announced shortly.

(Source: traveldailynews.com)

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Intraop Medical Receives Order for Mobetron from Poland; Second Mobetron in Poland and Sixth in Europe

ntraop Medical (OTCBB:IOPM), manufacturer and developer of the Mobetron(R), an innovative machine used to deliver intraoperative radiation treatment (IORT) during cancer surgery, announces that it has received an order for a Mobetron from the Wielkopolskie Centrum Onkologii Cancer Center in Poznan, Poland. The order from Poznan will be the second Mobetron in Poland and the sixth in Europe. The hospital has requested that the unit be delivered before the end of September 2005.

Dr. Donald A. Goer, Chief Executive Officer of Intraop Medical, commented, "Poland is in the process of making a very large investment in its cancer program, upgrading and increasing the numbers of equipment at its radiation cancer centers. It is gratifying for us to see that intraoperative radiation therapy and the Mobetron will be an integral part of their cancer treatment plan."

Intraoperative Radiation Therapy (IORT) is the direct application of radiation to the tumor or tumor bed while a patient is undergoing surgery for cancer. A single two-minute IORT treatment can often eliminate several weeks of conventional pre- or post-operative external beam radiation therapy because the normal tissues surrounding the tumor can be displaced or protected while IORT is administered as part of the surgical procedure to remove the tumor.

About Wielkopolskie Centrum Onkologii Cancer Center

The Wielkopolskie Centrum Onkologii Cancer Center in Poznan Poland is one of 22 centers in Poland currently specializing in treating cancer patients with surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy. The Wielkoplskie Centrum Oncologii is one of the largest radiation therapy centers in Poland, treating more than 4,500 radiation therapy patients per year, and over 9,000 cancer patients in total. The center is in the process of expanding its equipment to provide state-of-the-art treatment equipment for its cancer program.

Source: Business Wire

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Shell considers launching BPO in Poland

Shell, one of world’s largest fuel companies, considers a new investment in Poland. The company would like to launch a financial centre, “Puls Biznesu” learnt. “The centre will work for several units of Shell in other European countries. Several hundred people may work there. The centre may be launched next year”, Alfred Kubczak, Shell Polska spokesman said. It would be the company’s fifth BPO in the world. Krakow may be chosen as a site in Poland.

Although the preliminary decision has been made already to launch the centre in Poland, Shell wants state subsidy. “Two weeks ago, we submitted an application in PAIIZ investment agency to co-finance the project because of creating new jobs”, Shell Polska spokesman said. “I’m not entitled to comment on these news”, Sebastian Mikosz, PAIIZ deputy CEO replied. BPOs are quite popular in Poland. Philips and Lufthansa have such centres already. Volvo said it would launch its financial centre in Wroclaw at the end of July. Capgemini is going to follow the suit.
Royal Dutch Shell operates in 140 countries and employs 112,000 people. In 2004, it had net income of USD 18.2 billion (EUR 14.9 billion). In Poland, Shell has invested USD 700m. It employs 3,000 people in Poland.

Source: APA/Puls Biznesu

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Statoil refuses to build gas pipeline to Poland

The agreement between Russia and Germany concerning the Northern Gas Pipeline over the bottom of Baltic Sea, reminded many Polish politicians of the project of a pipeline joining Poland and Norway. Statoil, however, which took part in failed negotiations several years ago, decided the project was not profitable. “Basing on our forecasts, the gas deliveries to Poland are too small to build a big Norway pipeline. Even, if gas was transmitted to Denmark, Sweden and southern-eastern Norway, the deliveries would still be too small for such a big investment”, Kjersti T. Morstol, outside contacts director in Statoil explained.

The company is still interested in co-operation with PGNiG, Poland’s gas monopoly, but to a smaller scale. “We will focus on other options, especially using the present gas infrastructure and developing it when necessary”, Kjersti T. Morstol added. Today, Norwegian gas is delivered to Poland from Emden via Germany. 0.5m cubic metres are bought annually. “I don’t believe the Norwegians will talk to Poland again. We are not credible in their eyes any longer. Besides, they are preparing to expand in the British market, similarly as Gazprom”, Andrzej Lipko, the former PGNiG’s CEO said.
According to recent forecasts, 24 billion cubic metres of gas will be used in Poland within the upcoming decade, up from 13.5-14 billion cubic metres today. Gas imports will have to increase to 17-18 billion cubic metres. The problem is that even if the Norwegians change their mind, their gas is expensive. Marek Kossowski, PGNiG’s CEO believed that today it would cost USD 320-340 (EUR 263.4-279.8) for 1,000 cubic metres while its Russian peer costs USD 200.

Source: APA/Puls Biznesu

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More finance for SME leasing in Poland

To support expanding its operations, the EBRD is extending a €15 million loan to Bankowy Fundusz Leasingowy, a subsidiary of PKO Bank Polski, Poland’s largest retail bank. The leasing company focuses on serving small and medium-sized enterprises and its access to the PKO BP network should make financing more widely available to SMEs throughout Poland. The loan comes under the leasing window of the EU/EBRD SME Finance Facility.

Malgorzata Kolakowska, Director of the EBRD office in Poland, said projects like this will help small businesses in the country obtain better access to much needed medium-term leasing. She underlined that the EBRD was pleased to expand its relationship with PKO BP Group with this second joint project.

Witold Marszalek, Board Member of Bankowy Fundusz Leasingowy, said his bank’s participation in the EU/EBRD facility was part of a wider programme to intensify and expand its activities in this sector. The loan granted by the EBRD shall broaden the available sources of financing and decrease barriers to access financing for small and medium-sized enterprise, which have a crucial role for the entire economy.

The EU/EBRD SME Finance Facility, a joint programme of the European Commission and the EBRD, supports the development and growth of entrepreneurs by facilitating their access to finance. The Bank has committed €700 million, of which €495 million has been disbursed by local banks and leasing companies via 19,000 loans and leases. The EC has committed €130 million in grant financing and for technical assistance since the facility’s launch in 1999 under the Phare Programme, the main channel for the EU’s financial and technical cooperation with accession countries. Phare’s overall budget is about €1.5 billion a year.

(Source: EBRD)

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Poland: Toora Poland motor elements producer to be listed soon

Toora Poland, a member of the Italian Tora group producing automotive parts, is getting closer to the Polish stock exchange GPW.

On Friday, the company specialising in designing, production and distribution of aluminium cast parts, submitted its prospectus in the securities and exchange commission KPWiG. The IPO is to be conducted this year. CDM Pekao will run the listing.
In 2004, Toora Poland had consolidated sales of PLN 143.9m (EUR 36.9m) and net income of PLN 15.2m. (PLN 1 = EUR 0.257)

(Source: APA/Puls Biznesu)

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Vodafone says still keen on France, Poland, Asia

Vodafone Group Plc is still running its eye over acquisition targets in markets such as Asia, Poland and France as well as focussing on organic growth, the British-based mobile phone giant said on Monday.

Arun Sarin, the chief executive of the world's largest cell phone group by revenue, said the world remained dotted with purchase opportunities -- including two that have evaded Vodafone's grasp for years: controlling stakes in French telecoms group SFR and Poland's Polkomtel.

"We continue to look for opportunities in Asia," Sarin told an annual investor and analyst day at the company's headquarters in Newbury, west of London.

"(And) there are clearly one or two investments that we have, where we would like to take our investments up (increase our holdings) -- countries such as Poland or in SFR (in France)," he added.

Vodafone has long been seeking to raise its 44 percent stake in SFR, its French joint venture with Paris-based telecoms and media group Vivendi Universal (EAUG.PA: Quote, Profile, Research). But Vivendi has rejected its advances to date.

The company has also been vying with -- and against -- Polish co-shareholder TDC, the Danish carrier, to increase its 19.61 percent stake in Polish mobile telecoms operator Polkomtel.

But drawn-out talks with Polkomtel's Polish state-owned owners, metals group KGHM , oil group PKN and power grid PSE, threaten to become further delayed by expected management reshuffles after the September 25 general election.

"You will see us growing the business organically as hard as we can, but equally keeping our minds open as to whether we can grow inorganically as well," Sarin added, opening a day of presentations from regional heads at units including Vodafone's British, Italian, Japanese, German and Spanish operations.

(Source: Reuters)

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Polish Ministry of Economy and Labor director Bogdan Zagrobelny stated that trade transactions between Greece and Poland follow a course of dynamic growth during the past three years and even though they have doubled compared to 2000 they can improve further.

Addressing the 1st International Business Forum ITF held in Thessaloniki, he said that in the years 2001 and 2002 the bilateral trade transactions turnover increased by 51.5% to reach last year 336.8 million euros while regarding trade balance, Greece continued to have a small lead in 2001 but afterwards things changed.

In 2004, exports to Greece reached 174.3 million euros while the imports of Greek products to Poland were at 162.6 million euros.

Mr. Zagrobelny pointed out that according to figures provided by the Polish Information and Foreign Investments Office (PAIZ), Greek direct investments in Poland exceeded US$ 564 million.

PAIZ representative Iwona Lipska-Wrona stated that the largest Greek investment in the country is the Coca Cola 3E investment (US$ 513 million) while considerable capital has been invested by Maillis Group (37 million euros), Germanos (6.5 million euros) and Chipita (5.1 million euros).

(Source: MPA)

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Toyota Officially Opens Diesel Engine Plant in Poland

Toyota Motor (TSE: 7203) officially launched diesel engine production at Toyota Motor Industries Poland (TMIP) on September 15. A joint venture established in Jelcz-Laskowice, Poland, by Toyota Motor and Toyota Industries, TMIP already began production in March 2005.

Established in October 2002, TMIP has been producing new 2.2-liter diesel engines since March 21, 2005. The joint venture boasts an annual production capacity of 180,000 engines, which are mounted on the Avensis and Corolla Verso models produced at Toyota's plants in UK and Turkey, respectively.

The engines will be provided to Corollas vehicles manufactured in Europe as well.

TMIP currently employs 670 people, and will increase its workforce to 900 employees by 2006.

(Source: JCN)

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Poland Cuts Gas Tax to Ease Consumer Woes

Poland on Thursday became the first European Union country to cut its excise tax on gasoline in response to high oil prices, a decision that has already eased costs at gas stations.

The Polish Finance Ministry reduce the excise tax by 16 percent, or 0.25 zlotys ($0.08), per liter, bringing the cost for a liter of gasoline at the pump to around 4.35 zlotys ($1.37), or $5.21 per gallon.

The tax had accounted for 37 percent of the full price of a liter of gasoline in Poland. Total taxes, including value added tax or VAT, comprise 60 percent of the price.

Poland's decision comes despite last week's European Commission warning to its 25 member states against cutting fuel taxes in response to rising oil prices, which spiked to more than $70 per barrel after Hurricane Katrina struck the oil refining region of the U.S. Gulf Coast before falling back.

The Polish government made its decision before the commission's warning, but intends to stick to it until gas prices fall to July levels, said Finance Ministry spokeswoman Anna Sobocinska. Prices rose almost 0.20-0.30 zlotys ($0.08) per liter in the past three weeks.

EU governments have been struggling with growing discontent about rising oil prices.

France announced a partial tax refund Tuesday for poor farmers reliant on fuel, and threatened oil companies with a windfall tax unless they kept prices lower.

The Hungarian government plans to cut its value-added tax on gas and fuel prices from the current 25 percent to 20 percent from Oct. 1, bringing forward relief that was supposed to take effect in January.

In Austria, the government reached an agreement with oil companies to cut gas prices 0.02-0.03 euros ($0.03-0.04) per liter. Vienna had threatened a special tax if the oil companies had refused.

Gas prices at some stations in Poland had already fallen 0.10-0.20 zlotys ($0.03-0.06) by early Thursday. The decision to lower pump prices belongs to gas station owners, and costs will not necessarily drop everywhere.

(Source: Washington Post/ Associated Press)

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Poland's TPSA Launching Orange Brand Next Week

Poland's dominant telecommunications operator, Telekomunikacja Polska SA (TPS.WA), Thursday said it will launch France Telecom's (FTE) worldwide Orange mobile brand as of Sept. 19.

The re-branding will allow TPSA's mobile unit, Centertel, now the second-largest mobile operator in Poland, "to become the country's largest mobile operation even faster," TPSA Chief Executive Marek Jozefiak said.

Jozefiak also said he expects Centertel to take over the leading position in 2006.

Centertel, with its current brand Idea, commands one-third of Poland's mobile market, had 8.6 million subscribers at the end of June and is expected to exceed 9 million subscribers by the end of the year.

TPSA has a 66% stake in Centertel and plans to buy the remaining 34% from France Telecom, which is also TPSA's largest shareholder with a 47.5% stake.

"We are working on it, as it has been announced earlier," said Jozefiak. "The details of when TPSA may buy France Telecom's stake in Centertel will be announced when our third-quarter results are released."

TPSA is to release its third-quarter earnings about Oct. 25, he added.

In April, TPSA's mobile unit Centertel announced it had agreed to drop its local Idea brand and take up Orange.

According to a 10-year contract signed with France Telecom's wholly-owned unit, Orange Brand Services Ltd., Centertel agreed to pay an annual fee amounting to 1.6% of its revenue to operate under the Orange brand name.

(Source: Dow Jones Newswires)

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New coast guard vessels to be built in Poland

Five new vessels for the Norwegian Coast Guard will be built by by the Gryfia Shipyard in Stettin, Poland, with an option to build another five ships.

The cost will be a bit more than NOK 60 million per vessel.

This made it impossible for Norwegian yards to compete. The lowest Norwegian bid was reportedly NOK 7-8 million higher than that from the Polish yard, according to NRK.

The new vessels will replace older ships, and will be equipped to carry out fishery inspection, rescue missions as well as police and customs patrols.

The first vessel will be delivered sometime before next summer.

(Source: The Norway Post)

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Naftogaz Ukrayiny completes 2nd natural gas pipeline link to Poland

Naftogaz Ukrayiny, the national oil and gas company, completed a pipeline link to Poland that promises to boost gas supplies and may lead to Naftogaz's further expansion on the Polish energy markets.

Naftogaz completed Ustilug-Hrubieszow gas pipeline, which was commissioned on Sept. 10, the second gas pipeline that links Ukraine and Poland, the company said. Naftogaz did not disclose the capacity of the pipeline.

(Source: Ukrainian Journal)

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Poland’s A2 rating reflects EU integration

In its annual report on Poland, Moody's Investors Service says the country's A2 rating and stable outlook are supported by integration with the European Union and the likelihood of continued economic growth.

"Poland's medium-term prospects for economic growth coupled with the beneficial consequences of completed structural reform and incorporation into the European Union make the rating outlook stable," said Moody's Vice President Jonathan Schiffer.

Poland's debt maturity structure is favorable and its debt-servicing requirements are manageable, the analyst added. The country recently concluded negotiations with some members of the Paris Club to allow prepayments and debt swaps that lengthen debt maturity structure and lower debt servicing costs.

The country's finances also benefit from high foreign-currency reserves, and its current account deficit is manageable, though an appreciating currency could lower export performance in future, the ratings agency said.

The presidential and parliamentary elections at the end of October are likely to result in a new center-right government, said Mr. Schiffer.

The primary tasks before the new government will be to implement structural reforms to make fiscal-deficit reduction less dependent on growth-induced revenue boosts or one-off privatization proceeds, to lessen social welfare benefits, and to deregulate labor markets in order to lessen Poland's high unemployment rate.

The rating agency's report, "Poland 2005 Credit Analysis," is a yearly update to the markets and is not a rating action.

(Source: Financial Mirror)

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Optimism high as Poland regains investment lustre

Poland is regaining its reputation as the most attractive location for foreign investors in central Europe, after being trumped for several years by more aggressive rivals such as Slovakia.

In the last month Poland beat the Czech Republic to win a €430m ($528m, £290m) flat screen factory from LG Philips LCD, the Korean-Dutch joint venture. Symbolically the factory will be located in Kobierzyce, in south-west Poland, which had been expecting a car plant from South Korea's Kia before losing out to Slovakia last year.

(Source: FT)

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