New coal plan prepared

Alan Heath
30-04-2001, 00:00

New coal plan prepared

A Katowice coal company, the Katowicki Holding Weglowy, could be sold alongside the coal concern from Jastrzebie and Gliwice in Upper Silesia, due to be privatised in the next year or two. An earlier privatisation programme that was prepared by consulting firm PriceWaterhouse-Coopers was turned down by the economy ministry as it only took into consideration strict financial concerns and not the social and human aspects of increased unemployment. Economy minister Andrzej Karbownik believes that following a radical mine closure plan which led to 24 pits being shut, more deep cuts will be difficult to bring about. A decision on the new plan will be made by the middle of next month by deputy PM and economy minister boss Janusz Steinhoff. The Katowicki Holding Weglowy was not originally earmarked for early privatisation, however if it manages to restructure its debts in time then a sale could be considered. The holding includes ten pits producing 78,000 tons of coal annually which gives it a three percent market share. The southern energy concern PKE which includes seven energy producers is interested in acquiring the KHW but it has still not made an official request to the ministry for the holding although it has made an offer for three other mines. Two other companies have put in bids for privatised pits. They are a group of Lodz power plants and Kopex which is quoted on the stock exchange. The ministry says that if this sell off goes according to plan then the larger coal companies could face privatisation. The mining industry has PLN21.5bn debts although more than three quarters could be restructured as it is to state institutions such as the social security organism ZUS as well as central and local government.

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Puls Inwestora / New coal plan prepared