SCEE opens new division for Poland

The Sony Computer Entertainment empire continues to grow. Today, SCEE is proud to announce the formation of SCE Polska to capitalize on the growing Polish gaming market. The company will be based in Warsaw and will officially begin operation on April 1st, 2008.

"Our commitment to the Polish games market is clear', said Marcin Ziobrowski, the General Manager designate of the new Polish subsidiary. "Not only have we today announced the launch of the Polish PLAYSTATION®Store, online store front for PLAYSTATION®3's (PS3™) PLAYSTATION®Network, but we will also be focusing on delivering even more game titles to our Polish consumers in Polish. We already do this with PlayStation®2 and PSP™ (PlayStation®Portable) titles but we will also be localising PS3 titles as well."
Source: .ps3fanboy.com

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Poland's growth momentum may slow towards the end of 2007 - central bank survey

WARSAW (Thomson Financial) - Polish growth momentum may slow towards the end of this year after the economy expanded at its fastest rate in a decade in the first three months of 2007, a central bank's survey of local companies showed today.

The companies expect their output and demand in the fourth quarter to be lower than a quarter earlier, but plan to boost hiring, the bank said in its quarterly survey.

'It's hard to say, whether the economy is entering a slowdown, or we are only seeing a temporary weakness in growth dynamics,' the central bank said.

Companies face rising competition from imported goods coupled with strong zloty currency, which has additionally weakened their competitive edge. They are also beginning to feel the pinch from tightening labour market after the unemployment fell to a multi-year lows.

'At the moment, 10 percent of the companies are hiring employees from abroad and another 10 percent is considering this,' the central bank said.

Source:By Paweł Sobczak

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Poland sells all 2.3 bln zlotys of 5-yr bonds, demand 3.88 bln

WARSAW (Thomson Financial) - Poland sold all 2.3 bln zlotys of its 5-year bonds at a tender today, with investors bidding for a total of 3.88 bln zlotys of the papers, maturing in 2012, the finance minister said in a statement.

The minimum price at the tender was 961.5 zlotys, the ministry said. The average yield was 5.718 pct.

The ministry also added it would not hold a supplementary tender for the bonds, an option after well-bid offers.

Source: By Patrick Graham, forbes.com

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Poland asks EU court to overturn cod fishing ban

LUXEMBOURG (Thomson Financial) - The Polish government has lodged a request with the European Court of First Instance to annul a contested EU ban on cod fishing in the Baltic, the tribunal said.

The Luxembourg-based court will need about 20 months before it is able to hand down a ruling in the case, a spokesman said.

The European Commission has ordered a ban on Polish fishermen from catching cod in the Baltic after finding that they had already met their quota for the year.

But the Polish government, which faces elections next week, has resisted pressure from Brussels to enforce the ban and has refused to punish fishermen who ignore it.

Poland argues that the European Commission wrongly calculated the amount of cod caught by Polish fishermen in the Baltic and that they had not fulfilled their quota.

Poland has a fleet of 430 trawlers fishing for cod in the Baltic, employing 5,000 people on board and in the onshore processing industry.

Source: forbes.com

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Carrefour Sales Rise 5.8% on Latin America, Poland (Update2)

Carrefour SA, Europe's biggest retailer, said third-quarter sales increased 5.8 percent, fueled by acquisitions this year in Brazil and Poland.

Revenue in the three months ended Sept. 30 rose to 23.11 billion euros ($32.8 billion) from a restated 21.82 billion euros a year earlier, the Paris-based company said today. That compared with the 23.16 billion-euro median estimate of nine analysts surveyed by Bloomberg.

Chief Executive Officer Jose Luis Duran added stores outside France and cut prices at home to match discounts by competitors such as E.Leclerc. April's acquisition of Atacadao, a Brazilian chain of 34 discount outlets, and the purchase of Royal Ahold NV's 14 superstores and 183 supermarkets in Poland have helped Carrefour tap faster-growing markets. Sales in France, where the retailer gets almost half its revenue, fell 2 percent.

``The results are a little disappointing,'' said Claudie Casimir, an analyst at Natixis Securities in Paris. ``French hypermarkets performed less well than expected.'' She has an ``add'' rating on Carrefour shares.

Sales in France dropped to 10.4 billion euros as warm July weather dampened apparel sales and consumer spending waned. Total French grocery sales fell 1.2 percent in September from a year earlier, according to data yesterday from France's Central Bank.

Spain, Italy

The figures were released after the close of French trading. Carrefour shares rose 25 cents, or 0.5 percent, to 47.71 euros in Paris today.

The stock has lost almost 18 percent since the end of April after gaining 23 percent in the first four months of the year on bid speculation. French billionaire Bernard Arnault and U.S. real-estate investor Colony Capital LLC bought a stake together in March as the retailer ousted Luc Vandevelde as chairman.

Sales excluding acquisitions and currency swings will increase 6 percent to 8 percent next year, Chief Financial Officer Eric Reiss said on a conference call. Operating profit growth will outpace revenue and the retailer will generate 1.5 billion euros in cash flow, the executive said.

European sales outside France advanced 5.1 percent to 8.56 billion euros, helped by a revival in Spain, which accounts for about 15 percent of revenue. Spanish sales advanced 2.5 percent while revenue in Italy, the retailer's third-largest market, fell 2 percent. Italy remains ``highly competitive,'' Reiss said.

Asian Sales

Carrefour plans to close 16 outlets in Belgium, where sales dropped 4.4 percent during the quarter, the executive said.

The purchase of Ahold's Polish operations boosted Carrefour's revenue in eastern Europe. The French retailer plans to open another nine superstores in the country this year.

Sales in Latin America jumped 53 percent to 2.61 billion euros, spurred by increased consumption in Argentina and the $1.09 billion purchase of Atacadao. Half of the chain's 34 superstores are in the state of Sao Paulo, surrounding Brazil's biggest city.

Asian sales gained 13 percent to 1.54 billion euros as the company added more outlets in China. Carrefour expects to add 23 outlets in 2007 and up to 25 annually in coming years.

Carrefour said in August it plans to sell part of its real estate holding in an initial public offering next year, bowing to pressure from investors. The unit, called Carrefour Property, will own 60 percent of the retailer's 24 billion-euro real- estate holdings, based primarily in France, Spain and Italy.

Arnault and Colony have said they won't raise their stake beyond 20 percent until June 2008 unless the company's largest shareholder, the Halley family, decides to sell its 13 percent holding, or another investor buys more than 5 percent. Chairman Robert Halley said in April the family had no intention to sell.


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Investors confused by C. Europe pick Poland

VIENNA (Reuters) - Investors have piled into Poland and overheated stocks there because of the country's size but the rest of fragmented central Europe continues to remain something of a mystery beyond the region, the head of a regional private equity firm said on Tuesday.

Thierry Baudon, managing partner of buyout firm Mid Europa Partners, told the Reuters Central European Investment Summit that he has tried to buy companies listed in Poland but failed because of the high prices.

"Overall, I think this region has a lot going for it," he said. "The only problem it has is it's small. It's very fragmented, very poorly understood by the market. At the end of the day it's 70 percent of German GDP, 100 milllion (people), 15 countries, at least as many languages, and it's not on anybody's radar screen unless you're dedicated to it.

"But it makes it more difficult for competitors to come in, and that's why they all rushed first to Poland because they thought: 'Hey, here are 40 million guys, that much I can probably understand.'"

(For summit blog: http://summitnotebook.reuters.com/)

Source: reuters.com

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Poland says it will meet euro requirements in 2007, two years earlier than previously planned

Poland on Tuesday projected that it will meet the requirements for adopting the 13-nation currency this year — two years earlier than originally planned.

Finance Minister Zyta Gilowska said a revised plan adopted Tuesday foresees that the general government deficit will fall to the euro-eligibility ceiling of 3 percent of gross domestic product in 2007, down from 3.9 percent last year.

The deficit will then stabilize at 3 percent of GDP in 2008 before dropping to 2.8 percent in 2009 and 2.5 percent in 2010, Gilowska said at a news conference.

Poland's previous version of the convergence plan, issued in January, assumed a budget deficit of 3.4 percent of GDP this year, 3.1 percent in 2008, and 2.9 percent in 2009.

Warsaw has set no concrete date for joining the common currency.

Poland's booming economic growth — expected to reach 6.5 percent for 2007, up from 6.1 percent in 2006 — has narrowed the budget gap as revenue has soared.

The updated convergence plan forecasts GDP growth will slow to 5.5 percent next year from an expected 6.5 percent in 2007.

The plan also forecasts that the jobless rate will fall to 4.8 percent in 2010, from 11.7 percent in September this year.

Soource:The Associated Press, iht.com

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Ferrovial loses order for Poland airport - report

MADRID Thomson Financial - Grupo Ferrovial SA's consortium with its Budimex unit, Agroman, and Estudio Lamela has lost its contract to build a new terminal in the Varsovia airport in Poland, Expansion reported, without citing its sources.

Polonia PPL (nyse: PPL - news - people ), public overseer of airport installations, withdrew the contract citing delays in construction, specifically in installing a fire prevention system in the building.

Construction on the new terminal had begun in 2003.

Ferrovial plans to take legal action against PPL, noting that 'work has been completed in accordance with the public Polish company's demands,' the newspaper said.

This is the third contract Ferrovial has lost in Poland in recent months.

Source: forbes.com

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Valad Property acquires 5 properties in UK and Poland

Sydney, Oct 16, 2007 (RWE Aust Business News) Valad Property Group (ASX:VPG) has acquired five properties in the UK and Poland for a total of $198.2 million.

Three properties have been allocated to a relevant Teesland fund, while two have been acquired on balance sheet by Valad.

Teesland iOG's Central European Industrial Fund (CEIF) purchased the largest multi-let distribution and industrial facility in Warsaw, City Point, for 71.6m euro.

It has an initial yield of 6.5pc and a reversionary yield in excess of 8.0pc.

The site is located 6km from the city centre.

The acquisition of City Point brings CEIF's total investment in Poland to around $140m.

Teesland Advantage Property Income Trust (TAP) has acquired Brunswick Point, an office building in Leeds, UK.

The property was acquired for 11.8m pounds (including costs) from Clydesdale Bank plc, reflecting a net initial yield of 7.7pc.

A sale and leaseback agreement has been reached for the building, approximately half of which has been let on a 15-year lease to the current occupiers, Yorkshire Bank, a subsidiary of Clydesdale Bank which is owned by National Australia Bank (ASX:NAB).

TAP has also acquired a property in the Brackmills Industrial Estate, Northampton, for 3.3m pounds (including costs).

The 2.93 acre Caswell Road property has been purchased on an attractive income return of 6.9pc and a reversionary yield in 2008 in excess of 7.3pc.

Valad Funds Management (VFM) has acquired the freehold interest in three industrial warehouse units at Watling Park, Daventry, for 11.8m pounds (including costs), which represents a net rental yield of 7.3pc.

It also secured the 115 year lease on Archway Tower in Archway, London. The property comprises approximately 5,790sqm, principally over 15 upper levels of office accommodation, a ground floor reception and 49 car spaces in the basement and is located directly above Archway tube.


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INTERVIEW Poland's Noga says CPI surprise doesn't change outlook on rates

WARSAW (Thomson Financial) - A surprise jump in inflation last month does not change the outlook for the Polish monetary policy council, which should raise borrowing costs in November and then either once or twice more in the first half of 2008, central banker Marian Noga said.

Noga, seen as a policy hawk who has supported the bank's 3 rises in interest rates so far this year, said the larger than expected jump in inflation to 2.3 pct last month supported the case for one more hike this year in November.

He said the bank's February inflation projection was likely to prove the key to the scale of further tightening next year.

'Today's data do not change my opinion on the need for monetary tightening,' he said. 'This year, one more rise in rates is needed, most likely in November.

'The scale of tightening next year will depend on the projection in February. If in the February projection the ECMOD model shows that inflation is dangerously close to 3.5 pct we will need another two rate hikes after this year's move. If not, once more next year may be enough.'

Noga also said inflation this year would likely exceed the bank's 2.5 pct target.

'There is no doubt that inflation this year will exceed 2.5 pct,' he said.

Source: Patrick Graham , forbes.com

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