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Thursday, December 9, 1999:

Poland to give 2.6 pct in KGHM to defence firm

WARSAW, Poland ( Reuters ) - The Polish cabinet's economic body (KERM) on Thursday agreed to hand over 5.2 million shares, or 2.6 percent, of copper producer KGHM to helicopter maker WSK PZL Swidnik, the government said in a statement.

The decision to boost Swidnik's share capital ahead of the defence firm's planned privatisation still needs to be approved by the entire cabinet, said the statement.

With the share price of KGHM fixed at 24.6 zlotys in the single price auction system on Thursday, the stake is worth nearly 130 million zlotys ($31.3 million).

KGHM, Europe's largest copper producer, would not comment on the share transfer.

Swidnik is likely to bought by U.S. Bell Helicopter Textron or Italian Finmeccanica's unit Agusta, a senior government official said in October.

Early in the year Poland handed over bonds convertible for nearly 25 percent in Bank Handlowy to undercapitalised insurance firm PZU ahead of the insurer's partial sell-off without previously telling the corporate bank.

($1 equals 4.152 Zloty)