Bosnia’s Aluminij halts operations after power supplies cut

By bne IntelliNews July 10, 2019

Bosnia & Herzegovina’s troubled aluminium smelter Aluminij halted operations as the power supply from Elektroprivreda HZHB stopped in the first minutes of July 10, Indikator.ba reported.

This was not unexpected as Aluminij has accumulated significant debt towards Elektroprivreda HZHB and the government of the Muslim-Croat Federation has failed to find a last-minute solution to prevent the power cut.

Aluminij's workers and management have warned that the shutdown means an imminent collapse for the company, particularly for its electrolysis unit, which cannot be restarted due to its complex production process.

It was unclear what will follow after the shutdown of Aluminij. The Federation’s Energy, Mining and Industry Minister Nemir Dzindic has said that unless a strategic partner appears by the end of the year, Aluminij will go bankrupt.

A few days ago London-listed Glencore pulled out from talks on a possible acquisition of Bosnia’s sole aluminium smelter. Talks with a second interested candidate - the UAE’s Emirates Global Aluminium (EGA) – so far have had no result either.

Dzindic said the government will continue talks with EGA and with all potential investors. He added that another firm has sent a letter of interest.

Aluminij, once one of the biggest companies in Bosnia, has significant outstanding debt with 74%, or BAM280mn (€143.2mn), of it owed to Elektroprivreda HZHB.

Aluminij already started preparing to halt operations in June as Elektroprivreda HZHB stopped delivering power at preferential prices. The smelter has been threatened with the shutdown of its operations and bankruptcy for years due to its accumulated debts.

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