Poland's PKO BP CEO says doesn't rule out record 1 bln zlotys in Q1 net profit

PKO BP chief executive Rafal Juszczak 'doesn't rule out' that Poland's second largest bank will show a record net profit of 1 bln zlotys when it reports its first-quarter earnings in the middle of May, he was quoted as saying by newspaper Rzeczpospolita.

This would be up from 672.5 mln zlotys earned by the state-controlled lender in the first three months of last year and higher than PKO's current record of 870 mln zlotys in the fourth quarter, Rzeczpospolita said.

The newspaper quoted Juszczak as saying that this year's net profit may also be higher than 3 bln zlotys reported in the whole of 2007.

PKO BP (nyse: BP - news - people ), which lost its top spot among Polish banks after a merger of Bank Pekao and Bank BPH in 2007, wants to regain the number one position in the sector over two years, Juszczak told Rzeczpospolita.
Source: By Piotr Skolimowski, forbes.com

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Sub-prime crisis to curb Polish corporate loan growth this year

Growth in corporate loans and deposits in the Polish banking sector should slow by half this year, as booming investment needs and tighter credit conditions prompt firms to use up their spare cash, Bank Pekao's deputy chief said today.

Poland's largest lender, which services every second corporate client in the country of 38 mln, expects growth in corporate loans to fall to 12.8 pct in 2008 compared to 23.7 pct a year earlier.

It expects corporate deposits to grow by 7.3 pct this year compared to 14 pct in 2007.

'It is a phenomenon caused by the sub-prime crisis on one hand and also higher costs of loans,' deputy CEO in Pekao Przemyslaw Gdanski told a news conference.

'Companies first want to use their current resources and only then look for credit.'

He reiterated that Pekao hoped its own business in corporate loans and deposits would grow faster than the market as a whole, helped by the acquisition of Bank BPH's corporate clientele under a merger last year.

Poland's statistics office said yesterday that investment outlays by companies last year grew by 26.2 pct, one of the main drivers behind overall economic growth of 6.5 pct -- the highest in a decade.

But Poland's central bank has now raised its base interest rates for loans by a total of 175 basis points, after it hiked for a third month running yesterday, bringing its main rates to 5.75 pct -- almost 2 pct above ECB rates.

The Polish bank is expected to raise borrowing costs further in the next few months, although markets believe it may be nearing the end of its tightening cycle.

Source: By Adrian Krajewski, forbes.com

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Poland's jobless rate inches down to 11.5 percent in February

Poland's Central Statistics Office says the nation's jobless rate inched down to 11.5 percent in February, from 11.7 percent in January.

The slight decline shows that people are taking public service jobs and other positions after doing job training and internships, the state-run office said Wednesday.

It says some 1.77 million people in this nation of 38 million were registered as jobless at the end of February, compared to 1.81 million in January.

Poland's unemployment rate has declined gradually since a 20.7 percent peak in February 2003.

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Poland taps Credit Suisse, Unicredit for Swiss franc bond issue

WARSAW (MarketWatch) -- Poland's finance ministry said Wednesday it has chosen Credit Suisse (CS:
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CS 50.89, -0.38, -0.7%) and UniCredit (UCG.MI) to lead-manage a Swiss franc denominated soverign bond issue.
In a statement, the ministry said the size and maturity of the issue will be set when the bonds are priced.
However, Deputy Finance Minister Kataryzna Zajdel-Kurowski said last week that Poland was unlikely to tap foreign debt markets in the first quarter due to unsettled conditions.
Poland's most recent sovereign issue of Swiss franc notes was in April 2007, when it sold CHF1 billion in 12-year and PLN500 million in five-year paper.
The finance ministry said the issue will be part of its ongoing Euro Medium-Term Notesissuance program.
Source: marketwatch.com

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BorgWarner Breaks Ground on Poland Plant

BorgWarner Inc. said Tuesday it broke ground on a new plant in Poland, where it plans initially produce 500,000 turbochargers for European automakers beginning in 2009.

In addition, the auto supplier said it expects the plant to expand over the following two years to produce up to 2 million units.

BorgWarner said the plant's location in southeast Poland will allow it to serve manufacturers in both western and eastern Europe. About 200 jobs are expected to be created, the company said.

BorgWarner said it expects turbocharged light-vehicle diesel engine production to grow by nearly 20 percent in Europe to about 11.6 million units in 2012.

At the same time, the European turbocharged gasoline engine market is expected to triple to 3 million units, the auto supplier said.

BorgWarner shares rose 7 cents to $43.77.

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RPT-UPDATE 1-Poland's Bioton shelves Indar buy, eyes options

Polish insulin maker Bioton BOTN.WA has suspended its attempt to take control of Ukraine's Indar after learning the Ukrainian state has lost control over the stake it was seeking to buy, it said on Tuesday.

Bioton, one of Europe's largest producers of recombined human insulin, has been looking to expand its presence in growing markets such as Ukraine and said in February it wanted to double its stake in Indar to 60 percent.

The confusion around the Ukrainian state-controlled insulin maker's ownership presents Bioton with a second setback in its attempts to raise its stake. The news weighed on Bioton's share price.

Bioton said in a statement the Ukrainian government's stake in Indar had been transferred to Gerist Invest Limited but Ukrainian authorities were taking action to retake control of the firm.

"(Bioton) suspends actions aimed at taking control of Indar until the legal situation of Indar shares is resolved," Bioton added.

The Polish bio-pharmaceutical firm has been eyeing the Ukrainian government's stake in Indar for over a year, but Kiev removed it from a list of companies to be privatised in the run-up to a parliamentary election last September.

At the time, Bioton officials said they hoped the Ukrainian government would reverse its decision.
Bioton's shares closed flat on Tuesday, at 0.84 zlotys, underperforming Warsaw's large-cap WIG20 index .WIG20, which closed up 4.1 percent.

The company's stock has fallen 18 percent this year, after shedding 60 percent last year, since Bioton swung to an unexpected loss in the fourth-quarter.


The company faces growing worries over its ability to follow through on its expansion plans, but Bioton Chief Executive Adam Wilczega told Reuters it was prepared to alter its strategy.

"We're preparing a 'plan B', since we don't know how long it will take to sort this out," Wilczega said. "We're launching talks about distributing our Polish-made insulin in Ukraine."

"If we were to take over Indar, then entering the Ukrainian market with our own product would be inadvisable. Now we want to prepare for this (option) as fast as possible," Wilczega added.

He added there was no final decision, but if the issue wasn't cleared up in a transparent manner and quickly, Bioton could not rule out getting rid of its minority stake in Indar.

Prokom Investments, an investment vehicle of Polish tycoon Ryszard Krauze, holds a 38 percent stake in Bioton. (Reporting by Pawel Bernat, writing by Marynia Kruk)
Source: www.reuters.com

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Triton sees success in Poland

Triton Controls, specialist in the design, manufacture and supply of electronic control systems, has secured several orders and a signed distribution contract in Poland, Bizpoland reports. Triton worked closely with an International Trade Adviser to take advantage of the support that the organisation offers to company’s.
Source: evertiq.com

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Poland's PKN Orlen may buy into chemical company Tarnow at IPO in June

WARSAW (Thomson Financial) - Poland's largest oil refiner PKN Orlen 'will consider' buying a stake in chemicals producer Zaklady Azotowe Tarnow at the company's initial public offering planned for June, PKN management board member was quoted as saying.

Dariusz Formela told newspaper Gazeta Prawna in an interview that PKN's chemical unit Anwil also wants to take part in the sale of its state-owned peer Zaklady Azotowe Kedzierzyn, which the government plans to float on the Warsaw stocks exchange next year.

'Anwil has a great opportunity to build a chemical group,' Formela said. 'In our opinion there are large economies of scale to be made in terms of products and investments between Anwil, Tarnow and Kedzierzyn.'

PKN has repeatedly put off plans to float Anwil, in which it holds a 84 pct stake. The company is Poland's biggest maker of PVC products, used in construction, and one of the country's leading producers of nitrogen fertilizers.
Source: By Piotr Skolimowski, forbes.com

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Poland may consider PGNiG buyback, new shares among options after employee issue

WARSAW (Thomson Financial) - Poland's treasury ministry may look at proposals for a share buyback or new issue of shares in gas company PGNiG under a list of options to keep 75-80 pct control for the state after a worker share issue, Parkiet daily reported.

Parkiet reported unnamed sources as saying PGNiG had been given a list of six options for keeping control for the state, of which it is due to present three to the state treasury at the end of March.

The options also include schemes to pay off employees in return for a longer lock-up period, or altering the conditions attached to existing shares.

Treasury Minister Aleksander Grad has said the state should start transferring the shares to employees by the end of June.
Source: By Patrick Graham, forbes.com

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