Croatian union opposes privatisation of Petrokemija fertlizers

30 March 2012 15:05  [Source: ICIS news]

LONDON (ICIS)--Workers at Croatian mineral fertilizer producer Petrokemija will oppose any attempt by the government to privatise the state’s controlling stake in the company, the Chemical and Non-Metal Industries Union of Croatia (EKN) said on Friday.

Earlier this week, Croatian economy minister and deputy prime minister Radimir Cacic announced the 50.63% stake may be put up for sale.

A source at the economy ministry said that during a trip to Moscow to meet representatives of major Russian companies, Cacic had encountered interest in the stake from potential investors including petrochemical producer SIBUR.

However, EKN trade union leader Zeljko Klaus said the state was not entitled to dispose of the stake because, in 1998, the then government signed a guarantee that, because Petrokemija was regarded as a national strategic asset, the state would remain the controlling shareholder in the company “in perpetuity”.

“EKN is ready to talk to anyone who wants to demonstrate how to improve the Petrokemija business in compliance with all applicable legal regulations and procedures… but we will not support misguided privatisations,” said Klaus.

“The union is closely following developments,” he added.

In examining whether a privatisation was in the company’s interests, minister Cacic would want to assess whether Petrokemija should be regarded as a national strategic asset that required state ownership, the economy ministry said in a comment on the latest position.

In February, Petrokemija announced it returned to profit in 2011 following two years of losses.

The company has an overall solid and liquid fertilizer capacity of 1.5m tonnes/year.

Based in Kutina, central Croatia, Petrokemija has 2,300 employees.

The company’s exports go to Italy, Slovenia, Germany, Spain, China, and the US.

By: Will Conroy
+44 20 8652 3214

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