UNION MINIERE PIRDOP PARES LOSS
Bulgaria's biggest copper smelter Union Miniere Pirdop Copper, owned by Belgian metals group Union Miniere , said on Tuesday losses fell by 88 percent last year due to a sharp rise in output. Performance was much better than in 1999 because we increased production capacity, a Union Miniere Pirdop Copper (UMPC) senior official told Reuters.
Losses were reduced to five million levs ($2.28 million) last year from 41.4 million levs in 1999 when it was hit by low copper prices on international markets and the cost of investments made to raise output capacity. Greater cost efficiencies also helped the plant's improved performance in 2000, the official tpld Reuters.
The smelter produced 165,574 tons of anodes last year, up from 95,000 in 1999, and cathode output rose to 32,462 tons in 2000 from 21,000 tons in 1999. Union Miniere, which bought Pirdop Copper in 1997, said last year it would invest $109 million in the smelter to boost annual production capacity to 185,000 tons of anodes and 45,000 tons of cathodes. The new target capacity is expected to be reached in 2002.