Technip wins project management contract for Poland's Gdansk refinery

PARIS (Thomson Financial) - Technip has won a project management services contract for the Gdansk refinery in Poland.

The French oil services company did not disclose the value of the deal.

Under the deal, Technip will manage several projects with the aim of upgrading the refinery and increasing capacity.

The group's Italian operating centre in Rome will carry out the contract with support from its Warsaw centre.

Technip was recently awarded a contract for the implementation of a hydrocaking unit in the Gdanks refinery.

Source: forbes.com

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Poland's PGNiG will give shares to workers, but timing unclear - deputy minister

WARSAW (Thomson Financial) - Poland's government will keep its promise to hand 12.7 pct of shares in the state-owned gas distributor PGNiG to workers but the timing and structure of the deal has not been decided yet, a deputy treasury minister was reported today as saying.

Krzysztof Zuk told Parkiet newspaper in an interview that the new cabinet would give shares to workers as promised ahead of elections in October, but the ministry wants the company to pick new management first.

The plans have weighed on shares in PGNiG since treasury minister Aleksander Grad said last month that the deal could take place in the first half of next year. PGNiG floated 15 pct of its stock in Warsaw two years ago.

'The workers will receive 750 mln shares or a 12.71 pct of the already issued,' said Zuk, who is in charge of the energy and gas sector at the ministry. 'We want the new management to come up with the plan to hand over shares.'

He said PGNiG should carry out its plans to build a liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal on the Baltic coast and take part in the construction of a gas link with Denmark.

'I do not rule out some changes to these projects, especially when it comes to their financial dimension,' he added.

PGNiG has planned to invest at least 450 mln eur to build the LNG terminal by the end of 2011. It hopes the terminal will produce 2.5 bln cubic metres of LNG per year as part of Poland's strategy to limit its dependence on imports from Russia.

Source:By Piotr Skolimowski, forbes.com

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Reports: Russia, Poland reach agreement on meat exports

Russia and Poland have resolved a dispute over Polish meat exports that had blocked an EU-Russia partnership deal, Russia's Agriculture Minister said Wednesday.

Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk said Warsaw might soon lift its veto on the start of talks on an agreement aimed at deepening cooperation between Russia and the EU.

Russia has barred meat from Poland since late 2005, citing health concerns, and the ban had led to Poland to block talks with Russia on a new deal.

"We have full understanding and agreement on the resumption of shipments," Russian Agriculture Minister Alexei Gordeyev said in televised comments after he met with Polish counterpart Marek Sawicki.

"The restrictions on shipments will be lifted after the signing of a memorandum next week," the Interfax news agency quoted Gordeyev as saying.

Poland's Foreign Ministry issued a more cautious statement but confirmed plans for a memorandum. Tusk was upbeat.

"I appreciate the efforts the Russians have made in the Moscow meeting because they represent a good hope that Warsaw and Moscow can rebuild the best of relations," Tusk told reporters in Paris after a meeting with French President Nicolas Sarkozy.

"I can tell you that it goes in the right direction, and I'm not ruling out that we could soon lift our veto," he said.

The 2005 ban coincided with deepening political tensions between Russia and Poland. But after Tusk became Polish prime minister last month, ousting the conservative Jaroslaw Kaczynski, Russian officials hinted the meat dispute could be resolved quickly.

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Eggs on sale from flu virus farms in northern Poland

40,000 eggs from the H5N1-infected farms in Zuromin have been discovered on sale in groceries of Warmia and Mazury, north-east Poland.

2,500 were sold on Sunday, whereas 5,000 were withdrawn from sale.

A list of the shops where the eggs were available has been posted on the website of Sanepid, State Sanitary Inspectorate.

Since yesterday Sanepid has also been monitoring the shops where H5N1-infected eggs may be available.

What is known so far, is that eggs from Zuromin were on sale only in the Olsztynski district.

Experts remind that once boiled, eggs no longer pose a threat to people's health. Boiling eggs for ten minutes eliminates virtually all viruses.


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Poland and Russia to discuss lifting meat ban in talks tomorrow - ministry

WARSAW (Thomson Financial) - Poland and Russia are expected to address the possible lifting of a Russian import ban on Polish meat in talks scheduled for tomorrow in Moscow, Poland's agriculture ministry said.

Polish Agriculture Minister Marek Sawicki will raise the issue during talks with his Russian counterpart Alexei Gordeyev, Sawicki's spokesman Dariusz Maminski told Agence France-Presse.

Moscow imposed the embargo in November 2005, blaming Poland's food safety standards. Warsaw claimed the ban was groundless and a purely political move against Poland's then conservative-nationalist government.

Poland's new liberal prime minister, Donald Tusk, who took office last month after winning a snap election, has pledged to try to resolve the dispute and rebuild ties with Russia.

Russian veterinary inspectors recently visited Polish food industry plants covered by the Russian embargo.

According to a source close to the Polish agriculture ministry, the Russian inspectors indicated the import ban would be lifted in the near future.


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Poland has its share of problems with migration processess within EU

Challanges connected with the integration of immigrants and migration processes within the EU were discussed during a conference co-organised by the Institute of Public Affairs in Warsaw and the Biritsh Council. Experts also discussed the findings of the recently released Migration Integration Policy Index. It concludes that Poland, similarly to other new EU member states, does not guarantee efficient integration of migrants into the society.

Migration Integration Policy Index produced by a consortium of 25 international organisations, thin-tanks, foundations and NGOs compared the actions of 25 European and 3 non-European governments aimed at promoting the integration of immigrants in societies. Among the 140 criteria for ranking were: long-term residence, anti-discrimination and access to labor market. Thomas Huddleston, policy analyst from Migration Policy Group - a Brussels-based think tank says that every European country has a pathway to improve. Out of 28 countries evaluated Poland ranked 21.

'Poland has its strenghts in its laws on allowing migrants to become long-term residents and to live with their family. But of course there are areas for improvement, for example for Poland on making sure that the labor market can benefit from migrants who are already living in Poland and also ensuring those migrants are protected from racism and discrimination'.

Poland is still sending more migrants abroad that accepting foreigners on its soil. According to the latest report released by the Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs as many as 1.5 million Poles have already emigrated for labour abroad, most of them to Ireland and Great Britain. Joanna Fomina, a research fellow at Bradford University has researched the image of Polish migrants in the British press. What came of her study is a dissonance between the image of Polish migrants and the perceived impact of their presence in Britain.

'The image of Polish migrants is predominantly very positive. Obviously there are some stories about drunkards, about homeless people etc. But they are rather marginal and they are rather typical for tabloids - serious press is rather optymistic. As far as the impact is concerned , the picture is slightly different. Newspapers were speculating about numbers all the time. Besides, probably the most focus was put on the economic effects ofPolish migration and the labor market.'

The immigration of third-country nationals to Poland is low but growing in size and importance. Professor Irena Rzeplińska of the Helsinki Foundation Human Rights is a lawyer providing free legal aid to refugees. The program was established when Poland ratified the Geneva convention.

'Now we have a different category of migrants in Poland. One of the new phenomena is refugees and another is foreigners who look in Poland for better life, like citizens from Belarus, from Russia and especially from Ukraine. It is a completely new phenomena because until recently we, Poles were foreigners in the European Union countries'.

This country also receives few asylum seekers and many - most of them Chechens - transit through Poland on their way to western Europe.
Justyna Frelak is a coordinator of migration and eastern policy program at Warsaw's Institute of Public Affairs.

'They are not going to settle down here but go to Belgium or England because they think that Poland cannot actually offer them good living conditions. So we don't have to care about them because they will leave anyway. Especially that 90% is from Chechnya. They are victims of conflicts in Russia and the Caucasus and they are a really difficult group for any state'.

In order to help deal with this and other groups af refugees a new social campaign has been launched in Poland. Held under the slogan “Poland is diverse” it was prepared, among others, by the Association for the Integration and Protection of Refugees in Poland “Proxenia” and the Polish Red Cross. Its organizers wanted to make a reference to the fact that although now Poland seems to be a nation of one race, culture, language and religion there are many examples from the past that it was often home to various ethnic groups who coexisted here successfully.

Source: By Danuta Isler, polskieradio.pl

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Flat prices in Poland to decrease in 2008

Next year average prices of flats in Poland are likely to drop by 10 percent and stay on this level for a year or two, an analysis by Golden Finance reveals.

According to Golden Finance analysts, this will be the first stabilisation, or even decrease of flat prices on the Polish real estate market in two years’ time.

Last two years flat prices in Poland increased even by 70 percent. At that time some 60,000 new places were build. Experts predict that next year there will be over 60 percent more flats than in 2007.

The supply on the real estate market is very high and the demand – because the prices are too big – has started to decrease. Developers in Poland have already started a battle over customers, and are offering them for example free parking places etc. Experts say that there is a similar situation on the secondary market.

Golden Finance analysts stress however that there will be no long-term stabilisation of prices, which is connected with business cycles. They point out that the decrease of prices will cause an increase of real estate purchasers’ activity. The levelling of supply and demand may stabilise the market for some time but on the long run the prices will go up again.


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Fourth H5N1 bird flu centre found in Poland

WARSAW (Reuters) - A fourth centre of H5N1 bird flu virus has been found in central Poland, about 50 km (30 miles) from three sites found last week, chief veterinary officer Ewa Lech said on Saturday.

The emergency services, following a standard procedure, set up a three-km (1.9-mile) safety perimeter around the site.

"The problem is the farm on which the virus was found is a big one, tens of thousands of birds," Lech told Reuters.

The latest cases of the virus were the first of bird flu among poultry as opposed to wild birds reported earlier. They are also the first cases of the deadly H5N1 virus in Poland since 2006, when several swans were infected.

Last week the virus, which most likely spread through feed polluted with wild bird feces, hit three turkey farms. As a result, over 11,000 infected birds were killed.

The European Union and border states such as Ukraine and Belarus on Monday imposed a ban on poultry products from the region with the outbreak.

Poland's agriculture ministry scheduled a press conference on Sunday at 4:00 p.m. EST.

Source: By Patryk Wasilewski,



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Poland's Orbis says has deal to sell Lodz hotel for 73.5 mln zlotys

WARSAW (Thomson Financial) - Poland's hotel and services company Orbis has reached an initial agreement to sell a hotel in the centre of Lodz, central Poland, for 73.48 mln zlotys, the company said in a statement.

Earlier, trade in Orbis shares was suspended until 2.45 pm, pending a regulatory filing.

Orbis, 45-pct owned by France's Accor, expects the sale to close by the end of this year. The company had 88.9 mln zlotys in net profit last year.
Source: By Piotr Skolimowski, forbes.com

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Time Warner's AOL unit plans to launch internet portal in Poland - report

WARSAW, Dec. 7, 2007 (Thomson Financial delivered by Newstex) -- AOL, an internet arm of US media company Time Warner (NYSE:TWX) , will launch an internet portal in Poland as part of its plans to expand in Europe, daily Rzeczpospolita reported today withouth giving sources.

The decision will be announced on Dec 12, the newspaper said. AOL has said it wants to spend more than 250 bln usd on expansion in Europe, where the internet advertising market has grown by 20 pct annually compared to just 2 pct in the US, Rzeczpospolita reports.

AOL will offer email services, internet communicator AIM and a Polish-language portal, according to the paper.

Polish web advertising market is worth 415 mln zlotys and has been dominated mostly by local players, including Onet, an internet arm of a television broadcaster TVN.

In October, a South African media company Naspers launched a bid for Poland's biggest internet communication company Gadu-Gadu and said it planned to invest 155 mln usd in the firm.
Source: By Piotr Skolimowski,

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Poland to begin news, cultural TV broadcasts to Belarus in attempt to bolster democracy

A new television station funded by the Polish government will begin broadcasting a mix of news, cultural programming and entertainment shows to Belarus next week — part of Warsaw's ongoing attempt to bolster democracy in its autocratic neighbor.

The station Belsat will hit the airwaves on Monday, which is International Human Rights Day, and send shows into the authoritarian state ruled by longtime President Alexander Lukashenko.

"Our idea is to turn this station into a forum for uncensored discussion, which is now missing in Belarus," said Agnieszka Romaszewska-Guzy, director of the Warsaw-based station.

Poland, an ex-communist country now in the European Union and NATO, has for years expressed concern over the state of democracy in Belarus, a former Soviet republic of 10 million strongly supported by Russian President Vladmir Putin's government.

Warsaw is already supporting a radio station, Radio Racja, that broadcasts news programming into Belarus.

A unit of Polish state-run TV, Belsat will broadcast entirely in the Belarusian language, with programming prepared chiefly by Belarusian journalists working in both countries.

"It is going to be a TV station for Belarusians by Belarusians," said Aliaksei Dzikavicki, a former Radio Free Europe journalist who will oversee Belsat's news programming.

The Polish government will be Belsat's main contributor, with the Foreign Ministry pledging 21 million zlotys (US$8.6 million; €5.8 million) out of an estimated yearly budget for 2008 of 27 million zlotys (US$11 million; €7.5 million), Romaszewska-Guzy said.

Additionally, Lithuania public TV will produce a talk show. The Irish government has pledged to finance training for Belsat journalists.

The station will initially broadcast for four hours a day, but hopes to eventually increase that to 16 hours. Apart from news programs, Belsat will also show documentaries on human rights, programs on censored cultural events in Belarus and sitcoms such as "Ally McBeal."

Belsat estimates that more than 7 percent of Belarusian households own satellite dishes, which translates into about 700,000 potential viewers.

Lukashenko, president since 1994, has often been branded by Western countries as "Europe's last dictator." Belarus's closest ally is Russia, and has even considered merging with its giant neighbor into a single state — the focus of discussions next week between Putin and other top Russian and Belarusian officials.

Source: iht.com

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Ukraine, Poland agree to reverse flow of key oil pipeline

The leaders of Ukraine and Poland agreed Friday to reverse the flow of a key oil pipeline in western Ukraine in mid-2008, a move to improve regional energy security and reduce dependence on Russian crude.

The 670-kilometer, or 410-mile Odessa-Brody pipeline is currently used to transport Russian oil southward for export via the Black Sea from the port of Odessa.

But President Viktor Yushchenko and his Polish counterpart Lech Kaczynski pledged to return to the pipeline's original design and begin shipping oil from Caspian Sea nations such as Azerbaijan northward from Odessa to Brody, near the Polish border, according to a statement on Yushchenko's Web site.

"Only such a straightforward option of using Odessa-Brody has a future. Any other options simply don't exist," Yushchenko said, according to the statement.

"I am convinced that this project will be implemented," Kaczynski was quoted as saying. "Naturally, it is in our Polish interests."

Yushchenko said that by mid-2008, oil will start moving northward in the pipeline to Brody, from where it will be transported further north by rail.

Under an agreement struck earlier this year by Ukraine, Poland, Lithuania, Azerbaijan and Georgia, the pipeline is to be extended 490 kilometers to the Polish port of Gdansk on the Baltic Sea.

Yushchenko predicted the extension could be built over the next two years, while Kaczynski predicted it could be finished in 2011-2012, according to the statement.

However, Alexander Dikusarov, spokesman for the state pipeline company Ukrtransnafta, said that while construction of the extension will begin in mid-2008, the flow of the oil will be reversed later.

The pipeline, built in 2001, has long been the subject of geopolitical jostling amid competition over control of export routes from the former Soviet Union. It remained largely idle amid political bickering over its use until 2004, when then-President Leonid Kuchma opened it for transport of Russian oil southward to Odessa for export.

The following year, Yushchenko, the new pro-Western president, decided to revert to the original plan for moving shipments from Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan north and west from the Black Sea port.

Source: iht.com

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Poland's Agora posts 0.9 pct rise in sales of flagship daily in October

WARSAW (Thomson Financial) - Sales of Polish publisher Agora's flagship newspaper Gazeta Wyborcza rebounded in October as the election campaign drew people to newsstands, the company said today.

Gazeta Wyborcza, which accounts for 70 pct of Agora's revenues, sold an average of 443,424 copies daily last month, or 0.9 pct more than a year earlier, according to data from the Polish press distributors' association.

The copy sales of the paper dropped 1.5 pct in September.

The average sales of Wyborcza's main competitor Dziennik, owned by German publisher Axel Springer, fell 12.9 pct compared to the same period last year, the data showed.

Source: By Piotr Skolimowski, forbes.com

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Poland - Factors to Watch on Dec 5

 WARSAW, Dec 5 (Reuters) - Here are news stories, press
reports and events to watch which may affect Poland's financial
markets on Wednesday. ALL TIMES GMT (Poland: GMT + 1 hour):

 Polish monetary policy council (MPC) should raise the key
interest rate two or three more times by 25 basis points by the
middle of 2008 in order to fight rising inflation, MPC member
Marian Noga said on Wednesday. [ID:L0576602]

 Polish prosecutors dropped the arrest warrant against one of
Poland's richest men, Ryszard Krauze, Puls Biznesu daily
reported. Krauze, who controls several Warsaw-listed companies,
was charged with obstructing a corruption investigation. He
denied the charges, which were revealed to the media in the
middle of parliamentary election campaign.
 GE Money, financial arm of General Electric (GE.N: Quote, Profile, Research), which
bought 66 percent of BPH bank BPHW.WA, will spend $50 million
a year to improve the market position of the acquired bank.

 Polish treasury ministry called a meeting of PKN Orlen's
PKNA.WA supervisory board for December 10 in order to review
the company's management board's recent decisions, Gazeta Prawna
daily reports. Treasury Minister Aleksander Grad recently
signalled PKN could use a new chief executive.

 News editor of the day:  Karolina Slowikowska;
karolina.slowikowska@reuters.com; +48 22 653 9725; Reuters
Messaging: karolina.slowikowska.reuters.com@reuters.net

 NOTE - For a diary of forthcoming events see [PL/DIARY] and
a calendar of east European economic indicators see

For other related news, double click on:
Polish equities [PL-E] E.Europe equities [.CEE]
Polish money [PL-M] Polish debt [PL-D]
Eastern Europe [EEU] All emerging markets [EMRG]
Hot stocks [HOT] Stock markets [STX]
Market debt news [DBT] Forex news [FRX]

For real-time index quotes, double click on:
Warsaw WIG20 .WIG20 Budapest BUX .BUX Prague PX
Source: reuters.com

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