The idea of establishing NKW („New” Kompania Węglowa) appeared in the mid January, but its eulogy started with the first signs of spring in Poland this year. As symbolic as it was back then, it was also suppose to bring reduction of costs on every produced tonne of coal (to around 200 PLN/t) and 2.19 billion PLN of profit by the end of 2016. Sounds promising? Not really, when you look at the calendar today.
To achieve this goal, experts calculated the costs of this transformation. Moving the 11 prospective mines from “old” KW to the new one (the rest would be moved either to investors from energy sector or to SRK for slowly served lethal injection) and around 1 billion PLN for each stage of establishing the project. Company was suppose to start its operations by September 30. The first stage of forming NKW was suppose to start around the beginning of the second half of 2015, with the list of investors closed by the end of April (convenient for Ministry of Treasury – right before the presidential election). Three months later, the list of investors is still hypothetical, if not delusional.
After loosing the elections in May, MoT lost also bit of their enthusiasm. Today, its loosing its patience. New concepts of recapitalization Nowa Kompania Węglowa directly by the investors are the same ones from few months ago, but none of the potential investors (except maybe for Węglokoks) still did not declared full commitment to the NKW project.
According to the agreement signed between KW miners and MoT, by the end of September Nowa Kompania Węglowa should start the new chapter in the history of hard coal mining in Upper Silesian Coal Basin. To do so, it needed a strong list of investors. For some unbeknown reason (who would have guessed why?), the catalogue of potential cash-syringes contained only of state-owned companies and funds, including: Węglokoks, PGE, Energa, Azoty Group, TF Silesia, KGHM and Orlen. Tauron’s involvement was suppose to be limited to acquisition of Brzeszcze mine (not very prospective) and Enea was suppose to stay as a backup option (involved in either helping KW or taking over some assets from Katowicki Holding Węglowy, which surely would be next entity to fix after KW’s mess will be swept). Not so long ago also PGNiG was mentioned as one of the potential investor (probably trough PGNiG TERMIKA).
Seems like Ministry of Treasury did not expect, that all these companies will be so reluctant in declaring their full support. And as long as the owner has its own strategy for his property, Management Boards of each and every company is slowly but consistently turning their backs on the KW’s “rescue mission”. In the last weeks all eyes were on Tauron, which is carrying a gentle but determined battle over acquisition of Brzeszcze mine. Meanwhile, Energa is declaring that they still not made any final decision, but the strong feeling of withdrawal was in the air (six weeks from the deadline for NKW to start its operations).
In the following weeks all eyes should be on Andrzej Czerwiński and his ministers. Every small declaration or decision might reveal the true intentions of MoT. Either it will put an enormous pressure on the companies listed above to blindly enter the project (both by striking at refractory Management Boards and by promising all kinds of benefits in autumn) or maintain making declarations about the need for cooperation, finding the best solution etc. The second scenario would last till October, when after the election solving KW’s problems could be postponed for the next four years or handed over to the new MoT crew.
In the whole story, stretching over time like a soap opera, everyone seems to forget two things. First of all, under today’s conditions, Kompania Węglowa would not last for long. And right behind KW there are other state-owned coal producers, waiting in line with outstretched hands. Second – energy producing companies are all listed on the Warsaw Stock Exchange and market reacts dynamically for all the distressing signals coming from the industry. For two weeks now the energy market index at WSE is in constant decrease.