The Armenian Government is looking to resume operations at a debt-ridden Nairit chemical plant in Yerevan, rejecting calls from the world bank for the uni to declare bankruptcy.
Said to be one of the oldest chemical enterprises of Armenia, Nairit is 90%-owned by British company Rhinoville Property.
The facility produces chloroprene rubber and various grades of latexes, and co-products including caustic soda, hydrochloric acid, liquid chlorine, lime, sodium hypochlorite, lacquer ethynol, and carbinol.
A World Bank-backed financial and technical viability study has recently indicated Nairit operations as unsustainable, and recommended the plant be declared bankrupt.
Armenia Minister of Energy and Natural Resources Yervand Zakharyan was quoted by Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty as saying that the bankruptcy procedure for the plant will result in significant costs for the government, more than continuing to operate it.
“It does not at all suit the government that the company becomes a bankrupt, because it will bring quite sizable financial expenses in its wake, as well as safety and hazard neutralisation issues that will require millions of dollars in expenses over years,” Zakharyan added.
In 2010, the Nairit facility suspended operations and has since borrowed funds for salaries and maintenance costs. The company currently has a debt of AMD126bn ($263m).
In recent months, hundreds of workers have staged protests, asking for repayment of their back wages.
Zakharyan was cited by ARKA News Agency as saying: “The government and the ministry of energy and natural resources are ready to do everything possible, to freeze the debts and establish favourable conditions for potential investors to restart the plant.
“In the near future we are going to take stock of the facility, and wage arrears would be paid until the end of the month.”