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The most recent data made public by Romania's National Statistics Office indicate a 2.4% decrease of the Romanian industry in the second half of 2012, as compared to the corresponding period of 2011. The downward trend comes after three years of growth for the Romanian industry, and that in spite of the privatization of most formerly state-owned companies. This reveals the problems facing the industry in this country.
The termination of production in one of Romania's largest chemical plants—Oltchim Ramnicu Valcea, in the south—which has debts of hundreds of millions of euros, the possible decommissioning of the Arpechim refinery in Pitesti or the uncertainty looming over the Mechel steel works are currently in the focus of the government’s attention. The Economy Minister Varujan Vosganian has announced that Oltchim will soon have a new management, and the judicial administrators of the chemical plant will come up with a detailed report on the causes that led to the current situation. The Minister also explained why rescuing Oltchim would be a novelty among the Romanian state-run industrial units:
Varujan Vosganian: “If we succeed with Oltchim, this would be the first major state-owned company saved by means of the insolvency procedure, because this procedure enabled us to put an end to interest accrual, to resume utility supplies and we have started to look into all the contracts signed by the company and cancel those that are unfair.”
The Economy Minister also announced the start of the recruitment and selection of administrators for companies Electrica, Transelectrica and the Hunedoara Power Complex, which run mostly on public capital. The same procedure was initiated in mid-February in the companies Romgaz, Transgaz and Nuclear Electrica. Meanwhile, according to the Economy Minister, the new shareholders in the Mechel steel works in Campia Turzii promised to pay at least 70% of the salaries of the 1,000 workers in the units where operations will not be resumed in March. Here is Varujan Vosganian talking about the plans of the new owners—a company controlled by two Russian citizens—concerning the five production units in Romania, bought for symbolic prices:
Varujan Vosganian: “Mechel will resume production in Targoviste and Buzau, accounting for about 80% of the operations. In Campia Turzii, Braila and Otelu Rosu, a decision will depend on the effectiveness of the restructuring plan and on finding an investor.”
The authorities have announced social inquiries will be conducted among the former employees of Mechel Campia Turzii, in view of granting social aid. The decision was prompted by the protests of the employees who have been laid off, but fear they will not receive their severance payments. Sourcec; Radio Romania International
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