Romania’s InterAgro closes last of six fertilizer units

Author: Will Conroy

2011/04/12

PRAGUE (ICIS)--Romania’s InterAgro has completed the closure of six fertilizer units with the winding down of operations at chemical fertilizer producer Chemgas Slobozia, the company said on Tuesday.

As with the other five units, the closure of Chemgas Slobozia went ahead because of a government refusal to adjust its gas policy to provide cheaper supplies of natural gas feedstock for the fertilizer industry, it added.

High natural gas prices meant production at the subsidiary and the other closed units – Donau Chem Turnu Magurele, Viromet Victoria, Nitroporos Fagaras, GA-PRO Co Piatra Neamt and Amurco Bacau – had become unprofitable because gas feedstock made up around 75% of finished product costs, InterAgro said.

In all, the closures would lead to the loss of approximately 6,000 jobs, the company noted.

Since November 2010, the Romanian government has reduced the discounts in natural gas prices that it provides to domestic fertilizer producers.

The economy ministry defended the move to cut the discounts, saying their cost had been raising gas prices for other industrial producers and domestic consumers.

Romania produces around 13bn cubic metres of gas per year, about 60% of its annual needs. It imports the rest, mostly from Russia.

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