PRAGUE, April 10 German tyre maker Continental
AG plans to expand its Slovak operations in an
investment the Slovak government says is worth 250 million euros
The government said Prime Minister Robert Fico would travel
to Hanover, Germany, later on Wednesday to sign a memorandum of
understanding on the investment.
The plan should create 600 jobs at the firm's operations in
Puchov in western Slovakia, the government said.
Continental spokesman Alexander Bahlmann confirmed the
memorandum would be signed, but declined to comment on the
volume of the investment or the number of jobs, saying the plan
would be implemented gradually, according to market conditions.
He said if the project was fully implemented, annual
capacity at the Puchov plant would rise by 5 million tyres,
compared with 11 million made last year.
The European car market has been shrinking due to the euro
zone debt crisis.
Slovak media have reported the government was prepared to
provide unspecified aid to secure the investment.
Slovakia has avoided the debt crisis that has hit many
fellow euro zone members, but its economic growth has also
slowed, and the central bank expects an expansion of just 0.7
percent this year.
The country has also struggled to bring down unemployment,
which reached 14.71 percent in February.
($1 = 0.7658 euros)
(Reporting by Jan Lopatka; Editing by Mark Potter)