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Talks for BKV loan begin

Preliminary talks are underway to secure BKV Rt, the Budapest public transport operator, a state-guaranteed loan to the tune of Ft 15 billion, daily Népszava reported. The loan, to be extended by a consortium of Hungarian banks, will be used to finance the heavily loss-making state-run company's day-to-day operation and will bring BKV's 2005 debt load to Ft 60 billion. Meanwhile the municipality of Budapest, which exercises ownership rights over BKV, is due to sign an deal before the fall on loans to buy new metro cars for the public transporter. Under the project, valued at a total Euro 174 million, BKV will get 22 new cars to replace part of its outdated Russian pool. With its ticket sales still coving only a fraction of its costs, BKV is expected to record losses of around Ft 22 billion this year.