Prešov region: Getting on its feet
Tom Nicholson and Beata Balogoá
The Prešov self-governing region is made up of 13 districts and 665 municipalities. Some of the most significant foreign investment to have arrived in the Prešov region has gone into the wood processing sector.
However, Prešov remains economically the weakest region of Slovakia with predominantly rural character.
The region has significant non-metallic deposits, such as rock salt around Prešov, limestone in Jarabina and Spišské Podhradie, construction-quality stone in Bystré, and brick and tile ingredients near Bardejov, Poprad and Giraltovce. In 1572, salt mining started in Solivary, which is now part of Prešov, and continues to this day.
As part of industrialisation, certain factories were built close to the border of the Soviet Union because they served that market, including chemical factories in Humenné, which lies on an important highway route to both Ukraine and Poland, textile factories in Prešov and a shoe factory (JAS) in Bardejov where shoe production started in 1957. In 1995, JAS became Jas Export Company.
Five of the top ten textile and clothing industry firms (in terms of turnover) are located in the Prešov region, including Twista, Tytex Slovakia and VSK of Humenné, Svik of Svidník and Tatrasvit - Svit Socks of Svit under the shadow of the High Tatras.
Several smaller foreign investors have entered the Prešov region in the textiles sector, including the Italian Mediconf in Svik Svidník; the Swiss Mapier in Vranov nad Topľou; and the Danish Tytex in Humenné. They have joined existing clothes makers such as Egotex, OZKN, and Gemor Fashion Prešov. The latter is the only firm in Slovakia licensed by the German Gore firm to make Gore-Tex waterproof fabrics.
The chemicals sector is very strong in the Prešov region, with Chemosvit Svit, a company producing foil, being the sector leader. Humenné features two major investors in Nylstar and Rhodia Industrial Yarns, both part of the French group Rhodia (formerly Rhone-Poulenc). Rhodia Industrial Yarns produces for the auto industry, while Nylstar makes goods for the textile industry.
Other significant Humenné operations include the Mecom meat packager and processor, which is the market leader in the meat sector with 28 percent.
Poprad is the site of US white goods maker Whirlpool; Tatramat Poprad, another white goods maker that produces for Whirlpool among others, was bought by the German Stiebel Eltron in 1995.
Given Prešov's terrain and forest cover, the wood processing industry is strongly represented in the region, with the Austrian Kronospan Slovakia firm in Prešov. Kronospan, which also has a mill in Zvolen, plans to invest billions of crowns in expanding production. The Bukóza Holding mill in Vranov Nad Topľou makes cellulose, and exports 96 percent of its production.
Source: Trend Top 2007, figures for 2006.
These articles and related information were published in Spectacular Slovakia 2008, which you can obtain from our online shop.
EURO CALCULATOR (Sk30.1260 = €1)
Size: 8,974 sq. kilometres
Sources: Statistical Office of the Slovak Republic portal.statistics.sk and Slovak National Bank www.nbs.sk, all figures current to December 31, 2006, except for * 2007 and ** 2005