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Coal trading firms offer to help Czech mining group NWR

The bosses of two coal trading firms have offered to help to restructure coal miner New World Resources’ (NWR) Czech operating business OKD, Industry Minister Jan Mladek said on Monday.

Mladek said Petr Paukner, head of coal trading firm Carbounion Bohemia, and Petr Otava, who runs trading group Metalimex which owns a coking plant using OKD coal, have contacted the government over loss-making OKD.

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Government ministers were due to meet NWR representatives on Tuesday to try to reach an agreement that would avert the collapse of the company which employs some 13,000 people.

NWR is controlled by a group of bondholders, known as AHG, which holds 60 percent of voting rights and about two thirds of the company’s debt. They have called for government assistance.

The government has been reluctant to provide aid to the company but it also fears that a collapse of the mining group would hurt the economy.

“We will lead these talks (with Paukner and Otava) at the end of this week or next week,” Mladek told reporters. “The priority now is negotiating with AHG, which will take place tomorrow. We have to clarify if any agreement is possible with them.”

Paukner and Otava could not immediately be reached for comment.

AHG said on Sunday an agreement was needed this week to secure financing for the company from the next month. Mladek said the government would not be pushed to meet deadlines.

The government has said options range from insolvency to a restructuring plan or government takeover.
Mladek said the Paukner and Otava were only willing to enter the picture through an insolvency which would rid OKD of its existing contracts.

NWR lost 4 million euros ($4.56 million) in 2015 on the core level of earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation. It ended 2015 with net debt of 298 million euros, and cash of 86 million euros.

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