Prishtina, Kosovo | July 25 (Tirana Echo) – Albania’s powerful Balfin Group will acquire 100% of Newco Ferronikelli shares, the integrated ferronickel mine and smelter based in Drenas, Kosovo, further strengthening its presence in the minerals market across the region.
Balfin will hold the shares of Newco Ferronikelli via the UK based company, NKL Limited the Group’s website has announced after its representatives succesfully signed an agreement with Newco.
Newco Ferronikelli had struggled with low global nickel prices during the last few years and has not been able to operate at full capacity during the last 18 months.
“Balfin is proud to welcome Newco Ferronikelli to the Balfin Group,” – read a statement on the company’s website, as the Group announces it will immediately inject sufficient funds to put the plant back to work and bring it back to full production within August, while it has agreed to repay the existing supplier debts of the company as soon as possible. Balfin has also vowed to guarantee all outstanding salaries of employees.
Newco Ferronikelli, with over 800 employees represents a major employer in Kosovo and is responsible for at least an additional 1500 other jobs related to supplying the plant with raw material and logistics in both Kosovo and Albania.
The ferronickel complex in Drenas includes a nickel ore production plant, while the surrounding area is rich in mineral deposits, the facility in question was built in 1984, using the Soviet-era technology of the time. Balfin plans to make additional investments in Newco Ferronikelli to be able to realize the full potential of the mining sectors in Albania and Kosovo and increase the production of nickel in from the current levels of 7200 MT per annum to over 10 000 MT.
In acquiring Newco Ferronikelli, Balfin has a similar experience in acquiring Albchrome in 2013 and revitalizing the chrome ore and smelting industry in Albania. Albchrome is completing a $ 70 mln investment plan that has a new shaft being extended in the mine to increase the ore reserve life of the company by 20 years, restarting and investing in new furnace in Burrel and making significant improvements in the Elbasan smelting facility. With 2 smelters operating a total of 4 furnaces, and the mine in Bulqize, Albchrome has over 1100 employees and represents a significant player in the Albanian mining sector.
Balfin Group is the largest privately held Group of investment in South East Europe, with activities in Albania, Kosovo Macedonia and Bosnia, Netherlnads, and activities in real estate construction and development, such as shopping malls in Albania and Macedonia, retail activities through its major brands such as Neptun, Jumbo, Spar, rela estate development in resort properties such as Green Coast Resort and Vala Mar Residences, and the mining sector with Albchrome.
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