ArmInfo. If an agreement is reached with the Armenian government related to re-launch of chemical giant Nairit plant, on the first stage 20 mln EUR will be more than sufficient for re-launching acetylene line of the production. Chairman of EU-ASIA Business Finance Center Holding Ashot Grigoryan expressed this opinion answering to ArmInfo's correspondent's question at today's press conference. He added that after the first tranche for the plant re-start the second will be made amounted to nearly 100 mln EUR, which will be invested in recovery of production of butadiene rubber.
Grigoryan informed that the European delegation from Slovakia has had a number of meetings with Ministers of Transport, Finance, and Energy, as well as with Prime Minister Karen Karapetyan. As a result of the meeting the Prime Minister expressed readiness to discuss positive proposals, however expressed his "no". "I did not like that 'no'. Investors should not be told 'no'. For the first time in my life I see that the government takes a dim view of investors. I did not expect such an attitude", he noted.
The Head of the Holding noted that according to the assessment of colleagues from Europe Nairit may become a modernized production complex in a short period of time, at the same time the European experts highly assessed potential of chemical engineering in Armenia. "We have investors who intend not only to restart production, but moreover to organize logistics in order to ensure export of the production to Europe and the markets of other countries, and there are investors who can ensure sale of the product", he stressed. Grigoryan also noted that by the Prime Minister's request a proposal will be prepared considering the results of the discussions. "Most likely, we will present the proposal to the government in November", Grigoryan told ArmInfo's correspondent.
One of conditions of the Holding is to purchase the plant for EUR 1 without any debts. According to Grigoryan earlier when the Holding had come up with an initiative to restart the plant, the investors were obliged to pay the debts of the plant, related to this Grigoryan noted. "We are ready to compensate part of objective debts that are not stolen funds. But why should we pay for others' crime?"
At the same time he informed that investment projects on North-South railway and supply of transit Iranian gas were also presented to the Armenian government. Among other ambitious plans is Armenia's involvement in the new Silk Road program, the project in which Georgia, Iran, Slovakia and other countries are involved. In this context he clarified that the Holding intends to purchase a port on the coast of Danube, through which the new Silk Road will pass. "We plan to deliver goods from India, China and Iran to Europe through Armenia and opposite direction, opening great opportunities for Armenia", he said.
It was previously reported that EU-ASIA Business Finance Centre (Slovakia) is ready to invest up to 150 mln EUR in Nairit Plant. The holding is registered in Bratislava, the capital of Slovakia. The company was registered in April 2016 as a company providing advisory services in the field of business and management. Nairit Plant has been idle since April 2010. Throughout six years the Armenian government responded to numerous appeals of the former employees that the plant will be re-launched as soon as investor is found. "EU Asia Business Finance Center" holding has an Iranian partner who is ready to provide gas for operation of the plant free of charge as an investment. Holding is ready to pay 1EUR for operation of the plant for 5 years in case it is exempted from taxes for that period and its debts to state are canceled.
To note, at the moment the debts of Nairit Plant amount to 50 billion AMD (about 130 million USD). The Plant's shares were given as security against the CIS InterStateBank's 70 mln USD loan provided in 2006 for 5 years - till late Dec 2011 - at 12.5% p.a. In 2006, 90% of Nairit Plant's shares were sold to Rhinoville Property Limited (UK). The latter owns an 89,999% stake in the plant, Armenian Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources - 4,496%, Gazprom Armenia CJSC (previously ArmRusgasprom) - 3,596%, and Yerevan Thermal Power Plant - 1,907%. In 2015 the World Bank conducted a financial and technical audit at Nairit Plant at the request of the Armenian Government. The WB considers the re- launch of the plant to be inexpedient because it will need at least $250 mln. But even if investors are found, the WB experts do not think the product will be competitive, because it will have a high prime cost. Most experts were saying that the results of the WB audit can be considered as recommendations to the Plant's bankruptcy process, which has in fact started.