Poland downbeat on Euro 2012 hopes

The Polish FA appear to have conceded defeat in its bid to co-host Euro 2012 with Ukraine after a UEFA report listed failings on stadiums, hotels and transport.

UEFA is due to whittle the five bidders - Greece, Italy, Turkey and Croatia-Hungary are the others - down to a shortlist of three next Tuesday.

"If we fail it will be no reason to pull our hair out. We will try again in 2016 and we need to remember this was only our first attempt," said chief Michal Listkiewicz.

The head of Ukraine's football federation said he was aware of the UEFA report but had no intention of giving up and remained committed to the joint bid with a pledge to make good on shortcomings.

"Believe me, I will exert every ounce of strength, experience, authority and professionalism so that we get into the final three contenders at the UEFA meeting," said Hryhory Surkis, president of the Ukrainian federation.

"That will give us a whole year to eliminate any inadequacies and to fight harder to eventually win this competition. Yes, there are specific shortcomings. But who among those competing has no shortcomings?"

In its report on the first stage of bidding, UEFA said both Poland and Ukraine were unlikely to meet its requirements for hotel accommodation and training facilities.

It also listed shortcomings in the planned stadiums as well the large travelling distances likely to be involved for fans on the minimal highway networks.

"Even UEFA chief Lennart Johansson has had the chance to personally evaluate the state of our roads," said Listkiewicz.

"He took a car from Warsaw to Kutno (in Lithuania) and became badly ill. Just as we won't change the fact that Gdansk to Donetsk (in Ukraine) is 1,900km (1,190 miles), so we are not hiding that Poland has no motorways."

Source: CNN

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ING to buy remaining stake in Handlowy-Heller in Poland

ING Group NV said its unit ING Wholesale Banking agreed to buy the remaining shares in Handlowy-Heller, a leading provider of working capital finance and factoring services in Poland, for an undisclosed sum.

ING said it will increase its effective participation in the company to 100 pct from 25 pct through two separate transactions with GE Commercial Finance and Bank Handlowy w Warszawie SA Group, Handlowy-Heller's two other shareholders.

On 30 September, ING agreed to buy GE Commercial Finance's shareholding in Handlowy-Heller, giving ING a 50 pct stake. This sale was arranged under the framework of an earlier agreement between ING and GE Commercial Finance to restructure their NMB-Heller joint venture, as announced in December 2004.

Today a separate agreement was signed with Bank Handlowy w Warszawie, whereby ING agreed to acquire Bank Handlowy w Warszawie's 50 pct stake in Handlowy-Heller, thus bringing ING's stake to 100 pct.

Both transactions are subject to approval from the Polish regulatory authorities and are expected to be completed around the end of the year.

Financial details of the transactions were not disclosed, but ING said the purchase will have no material impact on the financial ratios of ING Group.

Handlowy-Heller provides working capital finance and factoring services to corporate clients with a focus on small and medium-sized companies. The newly acquired entity will strengthen ING Wholesale Banking's Commercial Finance network in Europe.

Source: Forbes/AFX

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Russian tourists flock to Poland

Russians are becoming increasingly attractive clients of the Polish tourism industry. Poland is among the most popular destinations among Russian citizens, who make some 20 million foreign trips annually. At a Polish-Russian Tourism Forum, which began at Naleczow in central Poland today, the Polish Tourism Organization is encouraging Russians to visit Polish spas. Naleczow is one of the most popular Polish spas.

Source: Radio Polonia

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