Bulgarian cement mill Devnya Tsiment stopped production lines for repair ahead of schedule and sent some workers on a leave by the end of the month, HR head and spokeswoman Valentina Grozdanova told.
She explained the company has sent home employees with days-off from previous years who are directly involved in clinker production. This makes around 60 people.
The crisis will postpone by ten to 14 months the development of Devnya’s most ambitious project, worth more than BGN 500 million, which will see the construction of a new production line. The company planned to flick the switch on the new facility in 2010. Back in 2007 Devnya was awarded a first-class investor certificate, clearing the way for fast-track administrative support for what is seen as one of Bulgaria’s biggest industrial investment in the past 20 years.
Grozdanova said the company had not scrapped plans, but was banking on higher costs of steel and other products as raw materials are falling. She added the firm was now designing the plant and sifting out suppliers.
Flagging cement demand in the US and Turkey prompted Devnya to slash output by around 20% last year and focus on the domestic market.
Devnya reported a 20% drop in revenue for the first two months of the year but the acutest problem it faces is unofficial cement imports from Turkey, which do not need to comply with the eco rules of the European Union and the Kyoto Protocol and buy no carbon dioxide allowances, Grozdanova said.
Bulgaria’s cement mills may seek government protection, a proposal they will discuss at this month’s session of the industry association.