Poland’s high speed railway and central airport put on hold
Poland froze the PLN 32-40 billion investment in high-speed railways and the construction of a central airport, postponing the plans until the post-2030 period, new Transport Minister Slawomir Nowak has announced.
Railways need a massive modernization and, in order for its effects to be visible as soon as possible, Poland needs to focus on modernizing existing railways and not spend money on new projects, the transport minister said.
Withholding the high-speed railway investment postpones the construction of a central airport as the two projects are interconnected, deputy Transport Minister Tadeusz Jarmuziewicz said as quoted by the daily Puls Biznesu.
It is a very good decision, Wlodzimierz Rydzykowski from Gdansk University assessed for the daily Gazeta Wyborcza. The Spaniards built their high-speed railway from public funds and now they struggle to repay the loans, Rydzykowski said.
Poland has spent PLN 340 million on preparing the now frozen investments, Rzeczpospolita daily reminded.
Picture: Slawomir Nowak
Miller will run for SLD chief
Poland's left-wing opposition Democratic Left Alliance (SLD) party will see its parliamentary caucus head Leszek Miller run for party leadership at the party's convention this Saturday, Miller announced on Thursday.
“I have decided to put forward my candidacy for SLD leader because I don't agree to the marginalization or liquidation of the party. I don't agree to throwing away the lifework of millions of leftist voters,” Miller said at a press conference.
SLD came in only fifth in the October 9 parliamentary elections with 8.2 percent of the vote. As a result, Grzegorz Napieralski, the current party leader, said he would step down.
It’s high time to end the post-election passivity,” Miller added.
Miller was the SLD leader before (1998 to 2004) as well as prime minister of Poland from 2001 to 2004.
Picture: Leszek Miller
PM Tusk addresses EPP summit in Marseille
We must tell ourselves that we can only save our money and protect our national interests by preserving and consolidating the community of 27 states, Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk said in a speech during the 20th congress of the European People's Party in Marseille, France on Thursday.
This is the key approach to overcoming the current crisis. Any other approach will prove disastrous for Europe, he claimed.
The EPP is the largest party in the European parliament, in which 74 centre-right parties or movements are represented.
Picture: Donald Tusk
Finance Ministry plans road show in Germany and Austria
Poland's Finance Ministry will hold a road show in Germany and Austria next week, but it will not be accompanied by a foreign bond issue, deputy Finance Minister Dominik Radziwill told PAP news agency.
"Next week we will have several meetings with investors in Germany and Austria," Radziwill said adding that the meetings are not linked to any transaction, but they are standard contacts with the key investors held annually.
"Keeping in touch with investors constantly and helping them acquire a better understanding of Poland's economic and political situation is one of the key elements of supporting sales of Poland's debt papers," according to the deputy finance minister.
The ministry does not yet have any detailed foreign T-bond issue plans for Q1 2012, Radziwill also told PAP.
Unemployment may exceed gov’t expectations - experts
Poland's unemployment may increase by 80,000-90,000 persons in December 2011, exceeding government expectations, the daily Dziennik Gazeta Prawna (DGP) wrote citing unnamed experts.
Seventy percent of employers fear a second wave of crisis and refrain from hiring, while 8% are planning layoffs, DGP wrote citing research by employers lobby PKPP Lewiatan.
Due to a tough market situation the government should extend the provisions of the anti-crisis act, Lewiatan's Monika Zakrzewska said as quoted by the daily.
Poland's unemployment increased in November to 12.1% as the number of unemployed grew by 48,100 to 1.916 million persons, the daily reminded.
Dziennik Gazeta Prawna
Poland to hold first budget reading at Dec. 14-16 Sejm sitting
The first reading of a draft budget for 2012 is planned during a Sejm (lower house of Poland's parliament) sitting on December 14-16, the Sejm wrote on its website.
On December 15 Prime Minister Donald Tusk will appear in the Sejm to present information concerning the future of the EU, the lower house works schedule also shows.
The government adopted 2012 budget draft on Tuesday, December 6.
The draft is built on 2.5% GDP growth and assumes budget deficit capped at PLN 35 billion.
The draft has been already sent to the Sejm.
Russian Standard seek to increase stake in CEDC alcohol
Russian Standard Corporation wants to buy alcohol maker and distributor CEDC's new shares representing 19.9% of CEDC capital in return for assets of Russian Standard's unit Roust Inc as well as help CEDC restructure its debt, CEDC said in a market filing.
CEDC started preliminary talks with Russian Standard's representatives, the filing also read.
Russian Standard and its lead shareholder Roustam Tariko already hold 9.9% in CEDC, the company informed.
PGNiG eyes new shale gas exploration concessions
Poland's gas giant PGNiG is negotiating the purchase of stakes in new shale gas exploration concessions from Canadian company LNG Energy in the Podlaskie and Pomorskie regions, the dailies Parkiet and Rzeczpospolita write citing own findings.
The deal could encompass a 20% stake in the Pomorskie region sites operated by Saponis and a 50% stake in the Podlaskie site, currently operated jointly by LNG Energy and Realm Energy, Parkiet wrote.
LNG Energy exploration works in the Pomorskie region are advanced and three drillings confirmed the presence of gas, the dailies wrote underlining that the site is adjacent to PGNiG's existing concession sites.
PGNiG is analyzing concessions operated by Saponis, PGNiG deputy CEO Marek Karabula said as quoted by Rzeczpospolita.
KGHM may need to fight for Quadra FNX
KGHM copper giant may face competition for the Canadian mining company Quadra FNX, with which the Polish company signed a conditional acquisition agreement on Tuesday, the daily Parkiet writes citing KGHM CEO Herbert Wirth.
After the planned purchase announcement, other firms - important players on the international metals market - expressed their interest in Quadra, Wirth said on Wednesday during a press conference.
There is also a risk that Quadra's Japanese shareholder Sumitomo, controlling a 45% stake, may want to buy the remainder of shares, but KGHM's trade and hedging director Jaroslaw Romanowski assured the daily that Sumitomo has no pre-emptive rights and that KGHM would not engage in such a transaction without clarifying such an issue with the Japanese.
Poland to deliver twelve Black Hawks to Brunei
Polish aviation plant PZL Mielec will produce 12 Black Hawk helicopters for Brunei, the Foreign Affairs Ministry announced on Thursday.
The delivery contract was signed by Sikorsky Aircraft, the owner of the Mielec plant.
"The implementation of the contract is a positive impulse for the development of relations between Poland, the US and Brunei Darussalam," the ministry wrote in a press release.
The deal also foresees the delivery of spare parts, training and equipping ground crews.
Lotos fuel would limit direct involvement in power sector - CEO
Polish fuel group Lotos will steer clear of overly direct involvement in the power sector and would be more likely to offer a plot or heavy refining residues to an energy partner, CEO Pawel Olechnowicz told reporters.
“We are not interested in investments in gas-fired energy as it is not our core business,” Olechnowicz said, limiting the scope of cooperation being considered with Polish energy group Energa.
Other options are nonetheless available to have locally generated power, potentially in conjunction with Energa.
“We are ready, however, to make a plot for such investment available and receive an amount of power to meet demand,” Olechnowicz offered. Lotos would also “be interested in construction of an energy unit on heavy residues from crude refining.”
Bank PKO BP passes EBA stress test by wide margin
Poland's largest bank PKO BP passed another stress test by the European Banking Authority (EBA) "by a wide margin," the bank said in a press statement.
"A study conducted by EBA in tight cooperation with KNF showed that PKO BP's Core Tier 1 capital ratio is at 11.16%, i.e. higher than the 9% threshold set for the study," the bank said.
"Hence the bank requires no capitalization and is not directly vulnerable to the crisis tied to creditworthiness of some of the EU member states," it adds.
The latest study of EBA covered 71 European banks.
Bank Pekao's long-term rating placed on Watch Negative by S&P's
Bank Pekao, a unit of Italy's UniCredit, had its long-term rating of 'A-' placed on Watch Negative and its short-term rating of 'A-2' affirmed by Standard & Poor's, following the placing of UniCredit ratings on Watch Negative, Pekao said in a market filing.
"Owing to placing ratings of the Bank's parent company on Watch Negative . . . the long-term rating of the Bank has been placed also on the above mentioned list," the filing read. "At the same time the Bank's short-term rating has been affirmed."
After the analysis, S&P's could affirm Pekao's long-term rating, or downgrade it by one notch, the filing read.
Banks' dividend guidelines to be set before holidays - KNF
Poland will set its expectations for what level of 2011 earnings banks should retain in a recommendation to be issued before the holidays, financial regulator KNF's banking department deputy head Krzysztof Broda told PAP news agency.
"The KNF will issue a recommendation concerning dividend payment by banks before the holidays," Broda said. "The direction stays the same - banks should strengthen their capital position."
Most Polish banks are likely to retain 2011 profits, with only a small minority sharing a part of their earnings with investors, financial supervisory office KNF deputy head Wojciech Kwasniak told PAP on November 24.
Earlier that month KNF head Andrzej Jakubiak signaled banks should pursue a "cautious" dividend policy from 2011 profits.
Sikorski to attend Nobel Prize ceremony
Poland's Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski will take part in a gala Nobel Prize ceremony and a banquet in honour of Nobel Prize winners in Stockholm this Saturday, the Nobel Foundation have said.
The minister was invited by his Swedish peer Carl Bildt.
The Nobel Foundation reported that apart from Sikorski they had invited Israeli Science Minister Daniel Hershkowitz and Grand Duke of Luxembourg Henri with Duchess Maria Theresa.
Picture: Radoslaw Sikorski
PKN Orlen suspends mgmt board member from duties
Fuel group PKN Orlen's supervisory board unanimously suspended management board member Marek S. from his function in relation to his detention by the Central Anti-Corruption Bureau, the firm said in a market filing.
The management and supervisory boards ordered an internal audit aimed at clarification of the situation and preparation of a report for the next sitting of the supervisory board, the accompanying press statement showed.
Management board member responsible for refining Marek S. and two directors from the refining segment were taken into custody on charges of corruption on Wednesday.
In a statement sent to the press, PKN Orlen said it had been informed by the appeal prosecutor's office in Warsaw about an investigation concerning cooperation between PKN Orlen and an entity from outside the group.