Political environment too volatile
RKN Global DWC-LLC and RKN Global Europe (“RKN Global”) announced Friday that they would decline the 18-million-euro investment subsidy offered by the Republic of Slovakia for the construction and development of a security printing plant in Banska Bystrica.
Prior to this announcement, RKN Global had taken steps to obtain 71 million euros in private funding in order to build a security printing plant in Banska Bystrica, Slovakia that would employ 1200 people. Slovakia’s planned contribution of 10 million euros in grants and 8 million euros in tax relief was viewed by RKN Global as an acceptable contribution from the government in exchange for RKN Global’s making a huge investment of 71 million euros.
However, the positive reaction that RKN Global had expected from Slovakians for its planned investment in Banska Bystrica was mitigated by unforeseen opposition unrelated to RKN Global. Political opposition members and the Slovak daily SME were quick to attack Prime Minister Fico and his ruling party because the timing of the 20 February 2016 public announcement just preceded national elections and was therefore viewed suspiciously.
This political opposition appears also to have manifested itself in attacks on our industrial partners from the Ukraine who are experts at producing secure documents such as passports, biometric ID and bank payment cards. These attacks contained false allegations against our partners and against RKN Global, and were made without giving RKN Global an opportunity to comment prior to publication, in violation of Slovakian and international journalistic standards.
In addition to all of this, Slovakia is about to lead the EU during a period of great uncertainty in light of the United Kingdom’s decision to exit from the EU. This uncertainty will make RKN Global’s investment riskier than it was back in March of this year.
As a result of these factors, RKN Global can no longer risk its reputation and 71 million euros of privately generated funds on this project.
“The current turbulent political atmosphere in Slovakia and in the European Union has made it imprudent for RKN Global to continue its project to build a security printing plant in Banska Bystrica and it has led RKN Global to decline the subsidies—both in grants and in tax relief—offered by the Slovak government,” said RKN Global’s founder, Ronald Noble.
“The idea to build a security printing plant in Slovakia was first proposed to me by our Ukrainian industrial partners, and I encourage them to decide for themselves if they wish to submit a project proposal on their own and make use of their own technical expertise, resources and know-how to go forward.”
“We thank all those who supported our efforts to build a security printing plant in Banska Bystrica, and we wish the best for the people of Banska Bystrica and Slovakia,” concluded Mr. Noble.