Liberty Ostrava assets stay in Czech Republic: minister

Czech industry and trade minister Karel Havlíček says he has agreed with Liberty Ostrava management and trade unions that the steel plant’s assets will not be moved outside the country.

“The situation in Liberty Ostrava is becoming more complicated due to problems with the financing of the multinational parent holding GFG Alliance,” Havlicek tweeted after the meeting in Ostrava on Friday.

Liberty Ostrava said on Thursday it shipped over 550,000 tonnes of steel in the first quarter and increased production almost 20% on-year to over 600,000t (see Kallanish passim). Output in each month surpassed 200,000t, the highest monthly level since 2016. The firm also forecasts its Q1 Ebitda will increase to over €60 million ($72m), a quarterly record since it was acquired by GFG in July 2019.

Earlier in the week trade unions at Liberty Ostrava declared strike readiness in protest over the uncertainty surrounding the future of the plant’s owner, Liberty Steel. Unions said they reject the proposal to lend Ostrava’s carbon emissions allowances to Romanian sister company Liberty Galati, which is reported to be in need of €100m to purchase CO2 certificates.

Trade union OS Kovo chairman Jaroslav Souček called on Havlíček last month to intervene in the Ostrava plant amid concerns over its future.

Adam Smith Germany