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VIOHALKO INVESTS USD100MN IN STOMANA

Stomana Industry, which is already controlled by the Greek company Viohalko through its subsidiary Sidenor, will invest more than USD100MN in steel production at the bankrupt Pernik-based Stomana plant, Stomana Industry's CEO Atanasios Atanasiopoulos announced. Half of the money is earmarked for turnover capital of the steel manufacturer. USD40MN will be spent for renovation of production capacities in the rolled sheet iron workshop and in the primary processing of scrap. Another USD12MN is intended for payment of the outstanding amount of the agreed price for the purchase of Stomana's major production capacities. The new owners of the Pernik-based metallurgy plant intend to increase steel output to 60,000 tons per month, up from the current 45,000-47,000 tons. Stomana's 2002 annual proceeds are pre-estimated at EUR230MN (at a selling price of EUR240/ton).
Last month Sidenor bought 75% of Stomana Industry from Eurometal. The company owned by businessman Lyudmil Stoykov, which was so far the only shareholder in Stomana Industry, now will have a a 25-percent stake. The capital of Stomana Industry is soon expected to be increased from USD10MN to some USD25MN, but the ratio between the shareholders will remain substantially unchanged. The company entered the workshops of the Pernik-based plant as a lessee on January 17, 2000. Under the rehabilitation plan for Stomana, it acquired the plant's core production, undertaking a commitment to pay USD16.5MN, VAT inculded. USD3Mn of that amount has already been paid, and the remaining part will be paid in quarterly installments over the next four years. About a month ago a company of Viohalko - Teprometal - bought also
Stomana's thermo-sizing workshop. Thus, the entire operation was acquired by Greek owners.
In the last few years Viohalko has been carrying out a strong investment invasion in the Sofia and Pernik region. It build the Stilmet plant for alluminium channels in the capital city. In 2000 together with Belgium's Union Miniere it purchased the bankrupt plant for non-ferrous metal processing near Gara Iskar. The Belgians, however, hold only 10 per cent of that plant. They are interested in selling to Sofia Med (Copper) the cathode copper, produced in Pirdop. The enterprise's managers expect that its manufacuring capacities would rise from 30,000 tons to 120,000 tons per year.

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