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3.05.2006, 23:33
Kosovo: Sale and Handover of Ferronikeli Completed

Prishtinë, May 3, 2006 – An event at UNMIK Headquarters today marked the sale and handover of Kosovo’s Nickel Plant Ferronikeli Complex L.L.C. to International Mineral Resources (IMR)/Alferon, officials said. On 20 April, € 29.5 million was transferred to the Kosovo Trust Agency (KTA). This amount, combined with a previous payment of € 1 million, completed the total required payment. Ferronikeli, based in Gllogovc/Drenas, consists of three open pit mines with substantial ferronickel ore reserves and a large metallurgical complex. It was the largest of the former socially owned enterprises being privatised, preserved and enhanced by the KTA.

The Chairman of the KTA Board, Joachim Ruecker, stated at the ceremony that this deal represents the largest private foreign investment in Kosovo since 1999. It sends a very strong signal to international investors. Kosovo is a stable and mature society that welcomes international investment and is open for business.”

Johannes Sittard, Chairman of International Mineral Resources (IMR)/Alferon, said that Alferon will look forward to beginning the work at Ferronikeli from today. He added that his company has a proven track record in this business and intends to use all of its expertise in making Ferronikeli a success –bringing the plant up to operational status as quickly as possible.

Agim Ceku, Kosovo Prime Minister, added: “The Government welcomes the signing of this contract and the start of production of this economic giant in Kosovo. This is the beginning of the revival not only of Ferronikeli, but of all of Kosovo’s economy. It is the beginning of a significant reduction of unemployment. I expect the investors to meet the obligations of this contract and they will have the Government’s support.”

Also present at the event were members of the Kosovo Government, the Kosovo Electricity Company KEK, the energy regulator Independent Commission for Mines and Minerals, USAID, various liaison offices and all the other agencies and stakeholders who were involved in the sale.

Other terms and conditions of the sale include an agreement by IMR/Alferon to a € 20 million investment commitment and a 1,000-person employment guarantee. Twenty percent (20%) of the sale price, approximately € 6 million, will be paid by the KTA to the eligible workers of Ferronikeli, in accordance with KTA privatisation procedures and UNMIK regulations.

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