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Management Say Kremikovtzi Could Close down by End of Month without Investor

Date: 05.11.2008

Bulgaria's biggest steel mill Kremikovtzi could close down before the end of November if a new investor is not found, the operative management of the plant alarmed.

According to the syndics, the future of Kremikovtzi, once the pride of Bulgaria's socialist industry, is to become clear until the end of the week. They say there are ongoing preliminary negotiations with potential investors.

The present crisis in the troubled plant was brought two weeks ago by the decision of the Ukrainian company Vorskla Steel Bulgaria to discontinue its raw materials supplies to the plant over allegations that the trade unions manipulated the workers for political purposes.

As a result, the factory suffered a severe coal shortage and had to shut down two of its blast furnaces, which had never been done before.

Last week Bulgaria's Economy Ministry announced the Smart Group company is interested in running and buying the plant. Smart Group is the owner of another Bulgarian steel-maker - ProMet, located close to the Black Sea city of Burgas.

Through a merger in 2007 it was taken over by Metinvest Holding, which is owned by Ukraine's richest man, Rinat Akhmetov.

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