The Greek government on Monday presented a plan for the restructuring of LARCO, one of Europe’s biggest nickel producers, by placing the mineral and metallurgical industry into a clearance management status which envisages cost and wage reductions, and an immediate launch of a tender for the selling of the factory and mines within 12 months.
Under the amendment tabled to Parliament, unless the whole process fails to be timely completed, the clearance manager will be obliged to apply for bankruptcy.
"The proposal we table today is the last chance for LARCO to remain alive as the present situation cannot be prolonged any further. We seek to maintain the company's healthy section and to sell it to a private investor. This will be done through a process which will be fast, legally solid, compatible with EU decisions and as mild as it can be for the workforce," Environment and Energy Minister Kostis Hatzidakis said.
"We believe that the plan will create the preconditions for a new investor to proceed with all necessary investments to modernize operations and return the company to growth, to the benefit of workers, the local society and the national economy."
LARCO has a debt of more than 600 million euros to suppliers, banks, pension funds (of which 350 million are to PPC) and during the 2015-2018 period accumulated losses of 148 million euros.
The company is also threatened with fines up to 50 million euros on environmental irregularities, while the Greek state has to return illegal state support worth 135 million euros.
During this period, LARCO's workers did not suffer any wage cuts.