KGHM management shrugged off the newspaper speculation that it would buy minority stakes in the national air carrier LOT and power generating plant PAK from the State Treasury. In response, ST Deputy Minister Mr. Dabrowski, accused KGHM board of ‘being too slow in making investment decisions’, and threatened them with dismissals at the next SB meeting. The management also maintained its cautious profit guidance for 2007 at PLN 2.98bn. Commenting on the wage negotiations, scheduled to be concluded by the end of February, the management stated that it plans a 5-6% nominal pay rise for employees in 2007, against a union demand of 7% pay rise. Regarding dividend the management sticks to 40% payout ratio resulting in dividend of PLN7.0 per share, against State Treasury request for 80% payout.
Our view: We do not expect any major price impact of the management comments, as they fall in line with earlier indications. We doubt that ST would be successful in forcing KGHM into unwanted investment, given lack of any economic links among the airline and PAK projects and KGHM core business. We note that the company trade unions voiced their opposition against them and we doubt that SP would risk sparking an industrial unrest. We leave our earnings estimates for the company unchanged. We reiterate our Buy rating for the stock.