Poland agrees shipyard rescue plan, EU to decide

Poland's government said on Thursday it had reached a preliminary agreement with investors on plans to overhaul its historic Baltic shipyards and avert their closure.

The European Commission has given Poland a Sept. 12 deadline to present its restructuring plan for the yards, cradle of the anti-communist Solidarity trade union in the 1980s, or else repay illegal state aid that would force them into bankruptcy.

The shipyards employ about 15,000 workers but Polish officials say as many as 60,000 jobs could be at risk if suppliers and related sectors are taken into account.

State-owned Gdynia and Szczecin and the privatised Gdansk yards have received state aid totalling more than 2.3 billion euros ($3.34 billion) over the years, in violation of EU competition rules.

Treasury Minister Aleksander Grad said the tentative accord envisaged additional state aid for the yards, which is allowed under EU rules provided it leads to the long-term financial viability of the companies concerned.
'We reached agreement with the investors in recent days... that clearly stipulates in what respect and to what degree the treasury can participate in financing old liabilities with new state aid,' Grad told parliament.

The investors involved are Ukraine's Industrial Union of Donbass, which owns the Gdansk yard and is interested in buying Gdynia, and private Polish firm Mostostal Chojnice, which wants to buy Szczecin.

'We're ready to grant additional public help. We're ready to support these shipyards in the interim period, but we have to bear in mind that we're part of the European Union...and that the European Commission has the deciding vote (on their fate),' Grad said.

The Treasury said the additional aid amounted to 835 million zlotys ($359.1 million) for Gdansk and Gdynia and 400 million zlotys for Szczecin. Investors have pledged about 1 billion zlotys for Gdansk and Gdynia and 242 million zlotys

for Szczecin.

Successive governments have failed to deal with the problem since Poland joined the EU in 2004. The yards have not made profit on a single ship built since at least 2004 and would not have survived without subsidies, but analysts say that,

properly managed, they could still flourish.


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Herbalife Family Foundation Establishes Program in Poland

LOS ANGELES, Sep 04, 2008 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- The Herbalife Family Foundation has established a Casa Herbalife program outside of Warsaw to help provide good nutrition to the children at the Children's Home in Falbogi, Poland.
The orphanage opened in 1977 to provide day and overnight care and currently cares for children between the ages of two to 19 years old. Children's Home will use the grant money to supplement its current food budget and nutrition education for the children. Local independent Herbalife distributors have committed to providing ongoing support through fund raising and volunteerism.
This is the 35th Casa Herbalife program established worldwide.
HFF is a 501(c)(3), non-profit corporation dedicated to improving children's lives by helping organizations provide healthy nutrition to children at risk. Additionally, HFF often supports relief efforts in response to natural disasters.

Source: marketwatch.com

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Arrow ECS and IBM Sign Distribution Agreement in Poland

Arrow Enterprise Computing Solutions, a business segment of Arrow Electronics, and IBM have signed a distribution agreement. Under the agreement, Arrow will become an authorized distributor of IBM hardware solutions in Poland.

The agreement includes the distribution rights for IBM Power System servers - including the full System i and System p lines; IBM System Storage products; and IBM Global Technology Services.

Arrow Enterprise Computing Solutions (ECS) offers IBM software solutions in Poland through Arrow ECS's Logix business. Arrow ECS also offers a portfolio of product lines that are complementary to IBM, such as VMware and Symantec, in Poland.

In addition to Poland, Arrow ECS distributes IBM products in Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Luxembourg, Morocco, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, the UK and the US.

Andy Bryant, president of Arrow ECS, said: "Arrow ECS and IBM have a long history together in the channel, and this agreement is an extension of our relationship. Through this agreement and our recent acquisition of the LOGIX Group, Arrow ECS now offers the full suite of IBM solutions in Poland."

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UPDATE 1-UniCredit agrees to buy Pekao stake from Poland

WARSAW/MILAN, Sept 2 (Reuters) - Italian bank UniCredit SpA (CRDI.MI: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) agreed on Tuesday to buy a further stake in its Polish unit Pekao BAPE.WA from the state Treasury, Warsaw's ministry and Unicredit said on Tuesday.

The ministry's statement said Poland's Treasury will sell the stake of around 4 percent in Pekao at a 3 percent premium to the average market price of the shares over the past six months.

The deal gives Poland's Treasury a put option on the shares running from Sept. 2 to June 30 next year. UniCredit has a call option on the shares for a year from Dec. 23, 2008.

Pekao, Poland's largest bank by assets, beat market expectations with a 54 percent rise in second-quarter earnings.
Source: By Gabriela Baczynska, Ian Simpson, David Holmes

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Jiangling Motors plans to set up auto plant in Poland

Jiangling Motors Corp (JMC)<000550><200550>, one of the biggest commercial vehicle manufacturers in China, is planning to invest US$1.2 billion to build an auto manufacturing plant in Poland, as per industry sources.

The new plant is designed to produce 400,000 units of vehicles per year.

Representatives of the Chinese auto maker will negotiate with officials from the relevant government bodies in Poland on the cooperation program in mid September.

Industry insider indicated that it will become the first manufacturing plant established by a Chinese enterprise in Europe, if the deal is nailed down.

JMC said in a statement that its Landwind series, which has a fairly good performance-price ratio, has passed the relevant tests in the country.

The company sold 51,722 vehicles in the first half of this year, up 14% year-on-year, according to an earlier filing with the Shenzhen Stock Exchange. Its vehicle sales in June alone amounted to 9,936 units, representing an increase of 11% over a year ago.


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TSYS opens office in Poland

Credit card processor TSYS said Monday it has opened an office in Poland as part of its expansion into eastern Europe.

TSYS, headquartered in Columbus, said the office in Warsaw, Poland, sets up its push into that nation, as well as the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary.

The company said it has been serving the Polish market since 1992.

"Complemented by our existing footprint with six clients in Poland, this decision is a long-term strategic commitment to the region," said Kelley Knutson, TSYS' group executive of global services.

The payment processor said Poland is a "key growth market" and has potential for growth because of the number of credit cards in circulation.

TSYS' global footprint includes more than 300 clients in 75 countries.
Source: By Tony Adams, ledger-enquirer.com


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Poland's Largest Telecom Operator, Netia, Chooses Kabira(R) KPSA(TM) and Capgemini for the Delivery of New Provisioning Platform

WARSAW, POLAND and SAN MATEO, CA, Sep 03, 2008 (MARKET WIRE via COMTEX) -- Kabira Technologies, Inc., a leader in extreme transaction processing software for global enterprises, and Capgemini Polska Sp z o.o., a member of the Capgemini Group, one of the world's foremost providers of consulting, technology and outsourcing services, announced the successful implementation of a new service provisioning system at Netia S.A., Poland's largest alternative provider of fixed-line and broadband telecommunications services. The new system was designed and implemented in only seven months, with ongoing maintenance services to be delivered by Capgemini Polska Sp z o.o.
In mid-2007, Netia announced its new operating strategy, focused on growth through dynamic expansion of its customer base, and by increasing customer value. Netia plans to build on new opportunities to access the fixed-line network of the incumbent operator (via bitstream access, local loop unbundling and wholesale line rental), and to capitalize on Netia's already strong position in the business market. In particular, Netia intends to become the market leader for broadband services in Poland, with the objective of acquiring one million broadband customers over the next three years. To help accomplish this, Netia selected the Kabira Provisioning and Service Activation(TM) (KPSA) platform to support the launch and activation of its new broadband services, ASDL access (including bitstream and LLU access), as well as VoIP, data and iDTV over ADSL. Netia also selected Capgemini Polska Sp z o.o. to manage the delivery, installation and implementation of this new service provisioning system and middleware platform.
"Netia is enjoying strong growth and therefore needed a flexible provisioning platform in order to adjust to challenging market conditions," said Jaroslaw Baczynski, chief information officer of Netia. "Replacing our in-house developed provisioning system with the Kabira Provisioning and Service Activation solution provides us with the ideal service fulfilment platform for managing both our existing and future requirements in a cost-efficient and 'future-proof manner.' KPSA gives us the ability to quickly provision and activate complex services, which is critical in today's intensely competitive Polish marketplace," Baczynski added. "Throughout this project, the Kabira and Capgemini teams have demonstrated a high level of professionalism. Capgemini Polska Sp z o.o. successfully managed the project's deliverables despite an aggressive timeline and wide scope. We are confident we have chosen the right partners to manage our growth effectively."
"We are pleased to have been appointed by Netia S.A. as their system integrator partner for delivering this mission critical project," said Wojciech Wojnar, TME director for Capgemini Polska Sp z o.o. "Capgemini has broad experience in the Telco sector and strong local competencies. I believe that this combination, together with our methodology of working with partners and clients, results in successful delivery." Wojnar continued, "This project is the first example of the working collaboration between Capgemini in Poland and Kabira Technologies to deliver solutions for the local telecommunications and financial sectors. Kabira has excellent reach in the telco industry, and the right strategy to address customer needs for high-volume, real-time transaction processing."
Philippe Lavigne, director of alliances for Kabira's EMEA region, said, "The flexibility, ease of use and reliability of KPSA will help enable Netia to efficiently deliver real-time convergent services at the lowest cost to its customers. With its advanced capabilities, KPSA will help Netia achieve its rapid growth and expansion plans." Lavigne continued, "When we introduced our Global Alliance Program last year, we stressed our commitment to working with partners that have the strong IT expertise and core competencies to bring our industry-specific transaction processing solutions to market. We are delighted to share this first joint customer win with Capgemini in Poland and we are looking forward to a fruitful collaboration."
This new service provisioning system gives Netia S.A. the ability to automate the provisioning and activation of their existing services, facilitate the implementation of new services and be able to handle high-volume provisioning transactions. It is also expected to enable Netia's service delivery infrastructure to achieve current and future targets for subscriber activity, ADSL/bitstream services roll-outs and delivery of convergent sets of innovative services. The project reflects Netia's commitment to providing its retail and wholesale customers with new, more desirable services and to lead convergent services advancements in the Polish marketplace.


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Tesco Hypermarkets, Poland

Word reaches us that Atvertin Sp. z o.o. a Polish company, based in Poznan and owned by specialist investment company BBI Capital NFI has won a contract to implement perhaps the largest digital signage systems in Poland, namely 48 Tesco Hypermarkets.

No news yet on a digital signage software solution but we suspect that has already been chosen.
Source: By Adrian J Cotterill, dailydooh.com

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Poland’s energy security not threatened, says Economy Minister

According to Deputy-Prime Minister and Minister of Economy Waldemar Pawlak, Poles do not have to worry about their country’s energy security.

The vice-prime minister said that there is no threat of Russia stopping delivery of energy resources to Poland, as had been reported by the UK’s Daily Telegraph last week. The companies that deliver gas and oil, said Pawlak on Polish Radio today, will stick to their contracts because they do not want to lose credibility in the eyes of their trading partners.

Last week, the British press warned that Russia might try to exert political pressure on countries dependent on it for natural resources, a group which includes Poland.

Waldemar Pawlak stressed that Poland's situation regarding energy safety is good. According to him, the Naftoport in Gdansk, handling crude oil and crude oil products, enables the import of resources from sources other than Russia.

He also stressed that it is technically possible to import oil to Poland via the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline. In fact, this has already been tried: the oil was transported from Turkey through Italy's Trieste to oil refineries in the Czech Republic owned by Poland's PKN Orlen.

Pawlak said, however, that the pipeline is controlled by British Petroleum, which has a lot of business with Russia.

The vice-prime minister also stressed that domestic resources, which cover 60 percent of Poland's demand for energy, are key to the country's energy safety. He said that producing gas from coal mined in Poland will become increasingly appealing if security concerns continue.

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Poland should raise rates in September-c.banker

WARSAW, Sept 2 (Reuters) - The Polish central bank should raise interest rates in September, policy maker Dariusz Filar was quoted as saying on Tuesday.
"In my opinion, the current data shows the need to raise interest rates as soon as it's possible, in September," Filar told daily Dziennik in an interview.
He also said a possible further hike would depend on the incoming data and inflation was likely to ease in September to 4.8 percent, and then in October, to 4.7 percent.
Annual inflation in July stood at 4.8 percent, up from 4.6 percent in June and much above the central bank's 2.5 percent target.
The finance ministry estimated August inflation at 5 percent and most analyst believe it would be the peak and consumer prices were likely to ease afterwards.
In response to accelerating inflation, soaring wages and the booming economy, the central bank's Monetary Policy Council has raise rates eight times from an all-time low of 4.0 percent in April 2007.
The key interest rate stands now at 6.0 percent.
Source:By Dagmara Leszkowicz,guardian.co.uk

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Bottled water consumption growth in Poland falls short of expectations

During the first seven months of 2008 and amounted to almost 1.2bn litres, according to research agency Nielsen. By way of comparison, the consumption of water has grown by 7% year on year for the corresponding period in 2007.
At the beginning of this year, Euromonitor International envisaged that the sale of water would increase by 10% versus 2007. At present, however, it appears that the realisation of this prognosis will be impossible. Cooler than average spring and summer seasons have prompted lower-than-expected consumption of bottled water. This can also be attributed to the lack of new products introduced this year such as the flavoured waters that have been popular over the last two years.
However, in terms of value, sales have grown by 7% to PLN 1.3bn (€388m) as a result of rises of 4-5% in water prices. The cost of water production has also risen on the back of higher transport and labour costs, according to Rzeczpospolita.
Water consumption in Poland is still much lower than in other European countries. The average Pole drinks 60 litres of bottled water per year whereas other European nations consume 90 litres annually per capita, on average.

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