Poland Polkomtel 1st Half Net Profit PLN506.8 Million Vs PLN527.1 Million

Mobile operator Polkomtel SA (PKT.YY) said Wednesday its first-half net profit fell by 3.8% on the year to 506.8 million ($1=PLN3.0380) zloty, due to higher costs of sales and falling rates.
At the end of June, Polkomtel had 10.4 million users from 7.9 million a year earlier.
The larger customer base helped Polkomtel to increase its revenue to PLN3.54 billion from PLN3.06 billion; it also contributed to a 20% rise in costs of sales to PLN2.87 billion from PLN2.40 billion.
Average rate per user, or APRU, fell by 13.6% on the year to PLN55.2, Polkomtel said.
Polkomtel didn't provide second-quarter financial data. According to a consolidated second-quarter report filed August 11 by one of its shareholders, KGHM Polska Miedz SA (KGH.WA), Polkomtel reached a net profit of PLN265.7 million and generated PLN1.83 billion in revenues.
The earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization, or EBITDA, were at PLN602.5 million.
Source: By Malgorzata Halaba, Dow Jones Newswires, easybourse.com

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DOE Announces Successful Removal of Nuclear Material from Poland

WASHINGTON, DC - The U.S. Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) announced today that 40 kilograms (about 90 pounds) of highly enriched uranium (HEU) have been safely returned to Russia from Poland. The secret operation was a joint NNSA mission with Poland, the Russian Federation and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). NNSA fully funded the activity and provided the technical support necessary.

“Every time we are successful in securing weapon grade nuclear material and vulnerable stockpiles of high-risk, radiological materials, we increase our security at home and around the world,” said Energy Secretary Samuel W. Bodman. “This is another example of the international community working collectively to reduce the threat of terrorism.”

The two-day operation was the largest removal of Soviet-origin “fresh” (unirradiated) HEU since the inception of NNSA’s Global Threat Reduction Initiative two years ago. The shipment was part of the prioritized, accelerated schedule in support of the Bush-Putin Bratislava Joint Statement on Nuclear Security Cooperation.

At the Maria research reactor at the Institute of Atomic Energy in Otwock-Swierk, Poland, the HEU was loaded into five specialized transportation containers while NNSA technical experts and IAEA safeguards inspectors observed. The canisters were airlifted under guard from an airport near Warsaw to a secure facility in Dimitrovgrad , Russia. The material will be down blended into low enriched uranium (LEU), which is less attractive for proliferation purposes.

Previously, NNSA upgraded the Maria reactor’s physical protection systems where the HEU was being stored. In 2009, the United States will assist Poland with the conversion of the reactor from the use of HEU fuel to the use of the less proliferation-attractive LEU fuel.

In concert with efforts to eliminate and remove nuclear material in Poland, NNSA is also working to provide security upgrades for locations with high-activity radioactive material, which could be used for “dirty bombs.” In Poland, NNSA has completed work at 37 sites with radioactive material and upgrades are underway at an additional six locations. Earlier this month, NNSA announced that more than 5,500 curies of radiological cobalt-60 and cesium-137, enough material for at least five “dirty bombs,” were removed from Chechnya and safely returned to Russia for protection.

The mission of NNSA’s Global Threat Reduction Initiative is to secure, recover and/or facilitate the disposal of high-risk, vulnerable nuclear and radiological materials around the world as quickly as possible. To date, approximately 230 kilograms of HEU have been returned in 14 shipments to Russia from Serbia, Bulgaria, Libya, Uzbekistan, Latvia, the Czech Republic, and Poland.

Established by Congress in 2000, NNSA is a semi-autonomous agency within the U.S. Department of Energy responsible for enhancing national security through the military application of nuclear science. NNSA maintains and enhances the safety, security, reliability, and performance of the U.S. nuclear weapons stockpile without nuclear testing; works to reduce global danger from weapons of mass destruction; provides the U.S. Navy with safe and effective nuclear propulsion; and responds to nuclear and radiological emergencies in the United States and abroad. Visit http://www.nnsa.doe.gov/ for more information.


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Poland: Inflation much higher than expected

Poland's Central Statistical Office (GUS) today released the consumer price inflation numbers for July.
Headline inflation came out at 1.1% y/y -widely exceeding the expected 0.8% y/y.

Hence, inflation remains low, but today's numbers might nonetheless prompt concern that the strong
growth in the Polish economy is starting to fuel inflationary pressures. Even though Polish rate hikes are
still some distance away, there is no doubt that, if this trend continues in the coming months, then inflation
will fairly soon move within the Polish central bank’s official inflation target zone of 2½% +/- 1% point. Furthermore,
it should be noted that it was not food prices that pushed up inflation, but rather communication
prices and recreation prices that rose 1.9% m/m and 3.4% m/m. This could be temporary effects, but
nonetheless given the rise is not due to higher food or energy prices this also pushes up core inflation. In
fact this push core inflation to near 1½% in July and we would now expect core inflation to approaching 2%
by the end of the year.

Furthermore, wage growth accelerated to 5.6% y/y in July from 4.5% y/y in June - above the consensus expectation
of 4.5% y/y. Hence, it is becoming increasingly clear that the strong growth in employment - and
also increasing emigration from Poland - is helping to fuel wage pressures.

All in all, today's numbers are a reminder that Polish inflation will not stay very low if the economy continues
to accelerate as it has done over the last year. Hence, even though there is still no cause for panic,
inflationary pressures are no doubt building in the Polish economy, and rate hikes are moving closer - if not
already before the end of the year then at least in the beginning of 2007.

Danske Bank
Holmens Kanal 2-12, DK-1092 Copenhagen


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Sumitomo Chemical to Build IT-related Materials Base in Poland

Sumitomo Chemical has announced plans to establish an IT-related materials base, Sumika Electronic Materials Poland Sp. Z o.o. in Torun, Poland, following major customer Sharp, who has announced plans to open a new factory in the same city.

The new subsidiary will have the capability to produce 500,000 polarizing films a month and 5,000 tons of diffusers, both designed for liquid crystals, scheduled to start operations in summer 2007. The company will expand capacity for both polarizing film and light diffusion panels as necessary to meet demand from the major LCD panel manufacturers as they expand their businesses.

Sumitomo has positioned IT-related materials as one of its major areas of focus, centering on materials for liquid crystal displays (LCDs), and has been promoting an aggressive global expansion of its production bases. The company presently has LCD-related materials facilities in Japan, Korea, Taiwan and China, with a particular focus on polarizing film.

The company believe a European opertions base of operations will further enhance ability to provide LCD-related materials promptly to panel manufacturers with operations in Europe and offer a broader range of flexible services to its customers.


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Polish humanitarian organization to solicit funds for Israel

n a first, a Polish humanitarian organization is working to provide humanitarian assistance to hard-hit residents of northern Israel, the head of the group said Monday.

The non-governmental Polish Humanitarian Organization will ask the Polish government as well as private donors for about NIS 1 million in aid for residents in the north for two projects, in addition to separate funding for Lebanese civilians, said Janina Ochojska, the group's founder and president.

The head of the Polish humanitarian organization, who has just completed a tour of hard-hit areas in both Lebanon and Israel, said it was imperative that humanitarian assistance get to civilians from both sides of the conflict.

"If you really are a humanitarian organization you have to work for the victims of both sides, and not only be supporting one side," Ochojska said, in veiled criticism of the major international humanitarian organizations who have focused their work on the Lebanese civilians who have fled their homes during the war.

She noted that while all the big humanitarian NGO's could be found working with Lebanese refugees, she was astonished to hear that hers was the first international humanitarian organization to have visited Israeli communities that have been pounded by 4,000 Katyusha rockets over the last month.

Ochojska said she would appeal to the Polish government to fund the purchase of some 3,000 school kits for children from the North, at a total cost of NIS 600,000, while she would work to get private donors in Poland to fund week-long breaks for children and elderly people at locations in central and southern Israel.

The group will also be soliciting funding for hygienic products, baby products and cooking sets for Lebanese civilians in refugee camps.

She added that her organization will seek UN and EU funding for the humanitarian aid projects in Israel.

"These people may not be in refugee camps, but they are in shelters and some of them have lost their houses as well," she said.

The Polish organization, which was established in 1992, has provided humanitarian assistance to 23 countries, including most recently to those hit by the tsunami in southeast Asia.

This project is the first time they are working in Israel, although future projects dealing with water in both Israel and the Palestinian territories are also being planned.

The initiative comes as the central Polish city of Łódz is hosting a group of 15 youngsters from northern Israel for a two-week all-expenses-paid vacation in Poland to give them a respite from the war in the North.

Łódz will also be hosting a group of Lebanese children in the coming days.


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OTI Subsidiary Wins Polish E-Passport Contract

ASEC S.A., a Warsaw-based wholly owned subsidiary of On Track Innovations Ltd. of Israel, has won a contract to supply contactless chip and antenna inlays for Poland’s electronic passports. PWPW S.A., the Polish public printing works, placed the order, and plans to being issuing the new passports with contactless inlays in their covers this quarter, according to OTI. The company says Poland, a country of 38 million, has 1.5 million passports in circulation. As a new member of the European Union, Poland must comply with the EU’s directive that member nations begin issuing passports carrying contactless chips and biometric data by August of this year.


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Incoming Poland, France and Italy flights have special restrictions

Passengers travelling from Poland, France or Italy to the UK will face specific restrictions on hand luggage until further notice.

Those on flights departing from the UK are now allowed to take on board with them one item of hand luggage, not exceeding 45cm x 35cm x16cm. Although liquids (except prescribed medicine and baby milk) are still prohibited, this means that passengers can take books, magazines and electronic items such as laptops and mobile phones.

However, incoming flights from Poland France or Italy currently have tighter regulations.

From Poland, passengers may only take essential travel documents with them into the aircraft's cabin, along with spectacles without cases, contact lenses without solution, essential medicines and baby milk.

Electrical items such as laptops, mobile phones and mp3 players are not allowed on board and must be checked in as part of the hold luggage.

From France and Italy, passengers flying to the UK may carry hand luggage but they will be subject to increased screening checks. They must also carry no liquids on board (except essential medicines or baby milk).

They are also encouraged not to take with them bottles or other items that could contain liquid. In these regulations, liquids include gels, pastes, deodorant, shaving foam and lotions.

Before flying, all passengers should check with their airline to get the latest information regarding security measures.


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Poland ready to prolong mission in Lebanon

Polish foreign ministry spokesman said that this country is ready to prolong its military mission in Lebanon. Andrzej Sados pointed that the UN will discuss the details of the UN international contingent on Wednesday and afterwards the Polish government will decide on final steps concerning the Polish mission. The Saturday UN Security Council resolution provides for the displacement of 15 thousand soldiers from international armed forces. At present there are some 214 Polish soldiers stationed in Lebanon responsible for logistic matters. Their mission was to terminate this month.

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Will Ryszard Krauze become the oil Sheik of Poland?

Ryszard Krauze, one of the richest Poles, has bought access to vast oil fields in Kazakhstan. He is going to invest USD 800 million.

The idea originated by accident. One of Krauze's companies, Bioton, was looking for markets to sell insulin. Bioton's partner in Kazakhstan mentioned that they possessed oil fields and offered co-operation. The investment is being realized through another of Krauze's company, Petrolinvest, and could meet all of Poland's demand oil for the next 13 years. According to Krauze, the capacity of the oil field he bought is 2 billion barrels. Krauze is going to finance the project from his own property (estimated at zl.4 billion), the sales of Bioton shares, bank loans and launch Petrolinvest on the stock exchange in about six months time. Apart form Bioton, Krauze also owns Polnord (a building company) and Prokom Software, a leading IT company.(Gazeta Wyborcza, August 12-13, pp.1, 26)


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Kardan's GTC sells Poland's largest office complex for $287m.

Global Trade Centre SA (WSE:GTC) (GTC Poland) , a subsidiary of KardanNV has signed a memorandum for the sale of the Mokotow Business Park, Poland's largest office complex, to the US Heitman real estate fund for $287.5 million.

Upon completion of the deal, GTC will record a capital gain of $52 million. Other companies of the Kardan Group will also record profits in the wake of the deal; Kardan N.V., which holds 62.7% of GTC's shares, will record a capital gain of $32 million. Kardan Israel Ltd. , which indirectly holds 14.3% of GTC, will make $7 million.

The deal is due to be completed in March 2007, and is subject to completion of due diligence and to obtaining all necessary approvals and funding needed by the Heitman Fund for the purchase. The Mokotow Business Park is the largest office complex in Poland, comprising nine buildings, with net office space of 109,000 sq. meters. The site was purchased in 1994 and development began in 1995.


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Energy authorities want to withdraw licenses from gas importers

Companies which plan to import gas alarm that URE authorities want to cancel their concessions. The regulator says not to worry but continues the process.

Several months ago, the gas sector companies warned that the Energy Regulation Authorities URE demand all companies with gas imports concessions to come and show how they operate. The majority of the firms told the regulator that they did not use their licenses because the liberalization of the market is not easy due to improper regulations. PGNiG controlled by the state is the country’s gas monopoly and its position will be strong in the upcoming years. The companies described what they were doing to import gas hoping that URE would see their problems.

According to unofficial sources, URE launched administration proceedings to withdraw concessions from 12 companies.

“We are investigating all 27 firms with the concessions to trade gas abroad. We want to know whether they use them or now. We will see, what they are planning. We will see to every case individually”, Wieslaw Wojcik, URE deputy CEO said.

He refused to give names of the companies whose licenses may be taken away.

“We won’t talk about names”, Wieslaw Wojcik said.

According to “PB” sources, the companies on the black list include: Pulawy nitrogen plant, E.ON Ruhrgas, PKN Orlen, Anwil or Ekoenergiz. “PB” did not manage to confirm it in Anwil only. A company whose license is withdrawn cannot apply for it in three years.

“We have been told that URE has launched administration procedure to withdraw the concession for natural gas trading in abroad. We don’t agree with URE arguments. Our concession was not frozen. We signed agreements with gas deliverers and we even took part in a tender to deliver gas for PGNiG. It is not our fault that the gas was not bought”, Marcin Buczkowski, Pulawy nitrogen plant said.

He assured that his company would do everything not to lose the concession.

German E.ON Ruhrgas cannot understand URE.

“In Western Europe there is already gas shortage. The industry worries about winter. But if Poland does not want the gas, it may throw out importers”, Paul Wolters representing E.ON Ruhrgas in Poland said.

In his opinion, the European Commission is also investigating the conditions to run operations requiring concession in Poland.

“Probably the revision of the market conducted by URE should prevent the situation when the majority of gas importers import gas from the East. It would strengthen the monopoly as this direction is controlled by Gazprom. But why URE wants to withdraw the concessions? There are other ways to regulate the quantity of gas imported from one direction”, Lech Gizelbach, the CEO of Ekoenergiz said.

In 2005, PGNiG sold 13.5 billion of cubic meters of gas. The net sales amounted to PLN 8.7 billion (EUR 2.2 billion). 6.3 billion cubic meters of gas was imported by PGNiG to Poland from Russia, while 2.5 billion cubic meters came from Asia. According to PGNiG’s estimates, the monopoly may lose 30 percent of the market due to the liberalization.

(PLN 1 = EUR 0.258)


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Poland’s oil refiners beat forecasts, supply worries

Leading Polish oil group PKN Orlen and its smaller peer Lotos reported yesterday better than expected second-quarter results thanks to higher refining margins and favourable crude pricing.

State-controlled PKN said its April-June net profit more than doubled from the previous quarter to 881mn Polish zlotys ($293mn), topping predictions of 753mn in a Reuters poll of 10 analysts.

Lotos’s second-quarter net profit jumped to 276mn zlotys from 103mn in the first quarter and 85mn in April-June last year. It beat forecasts of 223mn.

Shares in Lotos were up 0.8% by 1315 GMT, but PKN fell 1.9% as investors’ concerns over the security of Russian crude oil supplies to PKN’s new Lithuanian unit, Mazeikiu, outweighed its strong earnings.

The blue-chip WIG 20 index was down 1.4%.

"Despite good results, shares in PKN are falling, partly due to concerns about the fate of the Mazeikiu purchase," said Wojciech Wosko, dealer at BZ WBK brokerage.

PKN Deputy Chief Executive Pawel Szymański said third-quarter profit should be similar to 980mn zlotys in the same period last year if economic conditions remained unchanged.

Lotos’s chief executive Paweł Olechnowicz also painted a bright picture for future earnings.

"Looking at macroeconomic indicators, we think that the third quarter will be as good as the second," he told reporters.

Mazeikiu, the Baltic regions only refinery and a major distribution outlet to European markets, had its supply pipe to Russia cut recently, after a reported oil leak.

But the cut prompted concerns it was Moscow’s punishment for the rejection of Russian bidders in the tender for Mazeikiu.

PKN chief executive Igor Chalupec said the company hoped Russian supplies would resume soon, but believed Mazeikiu could be profitable even if it bought crude from other sources.

He also said that a purchase agreement gave PKN the right to walk away from the deal if the value of Mazeikiu fell sharply this year. PKN is expected to seal the takeover early in 2007.

"According to the agreement, we have the right to give up the purchase by December 31 if Mazeikiu’s value falls significantly," Chalupec told reporters.

"We hope the cut is the effect of a pipeline leak only and not a result of other non-business factors. It would mean a loss of trust in (Russian pipeline monopoly) Transneft."

PKN’s second-quarter net profit fell from the 2.56bn zlotys reported a year earlier, but analysts have said the results are not comparable mainly because of a nearly 2bn zloty goodwill write-off, which boosted earnings a year ago after the acquisition of its Czech peer Unipetrol.

Analysts said both PKN and Lotos benefited from rising oil prices and higher margins as well as a positive price differential between the Ural crude they refine and Brent, used as a benchmark for product prices.

"Margins, differential and strong retail sales helped both companies," said Maciej Wiewiorski, analyst at Bank Pekao brokerage in Warsaw.

Shares in PKN were down 2% at 52.50 zlotys, valuing the company at 22.5bn zlotys. The stock has lost around 15% this year, partly because of worries the new government might reshuffle PKN’s management.

The Polish refiner’s shares are rated slightly cheaper than its competitors, which analysts attribute to state control of the firm and its lack of upstream business.

According to Reuters Estimates, PKN is valued at around nine times its estimated 2006 net profit and Lotos at about 10. Hungary’s MOL trades on a multiple of about nine and Finnish refiner Neste Oil at almost 15 times. - Reuters


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China, Poland sign protocol on cooperation in science

China and Poland on Friday signed a protocol on cooperation in science during the 32nd conference of the China-Poland Science and Technology Cooperation Committee.

Chinese Deputy Minister of Science and Technology Shang Yong signed the protocol with Olaf Gajl, the Polish deputy minister of science and higher education.

According to the protocol, Polish and Chinese scientists will jointly implement 48 research projects in various fields including agricultural science, mining, information technology, new materials and biotechnology.

Both sides expressed hope that the new joint research projects would promote cooperation between scientific research institutions, universities and scientists in the two countries.

Source: Xinhua

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Poland to spend 400 million euros on airport update

The Polish Transport Ministry plans to spend 400 million euros (508 million U.S. dollars) on the development and modernisation of the Polish airport and navigation infrastructure from 2007 to 2013, the PAP news agency reported Friday.

The projects would be financed by a European Union fund known as the Infrastructure and Environment, Polish Deputy Transport Minister Eugeniusz Wrobel was quoted as saying.

The Transport Ministry is developing a strategy for infrastructural projects in airports, the national airport grid and necessary changes in legislation, notably the liberalization of aviation law.

"The present regulations on aviation are restrictive beyond the extent required by the EU," Wróbel explained, "This hampers the development of air traffic, especially with regard to small, private planes that could be the driving force of the aviation business."

There are 12 airports in Poland the Warsaw Okęcie International Airport and 11 regional ones. They handled 11.5 million passengers last year and 8.8 million in 2004.


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