Three years ago no one suspected such fall: whole industry just had three good years and as the EU Commissioner Elżbieta Bieńkowska said “everyone was eating, drinking and smoking pipes” (a reference to the ballad by A. Mickiewicz). And then it all collapsed, starting with the European giant in gigantic troubles – Kompania Węglowa.
We’re back with the reports on Polish hard coal production in the time of crisis.
In the beginning of 2013 Kompania Węglowa was bit occupied with their planned investments: exploration of the new coal deposits in LZW (“Pawłów”) and a coal-fired power plant (called “Czeczott”) next to the old facilities of KWK Piast Ruch II, which was supposed to be built with help of Chinese and Korean investors and consume 2.5-3.5m Mt per year. But as soon as the accountants done their job, in the mid of 2013 KW received first signals of rough financial situation. Instead of just talking company decided to start acting and created restructure plan for 2014-2020, which anticipated cuts in social services for employees, reduction in office staff, mergers of mines and the most important for cash flow – selling Knurów-Szczygłowice mine to JSW. Unfortunately for KW, not much came out of this plan and the company closed 2013 with net loss at a level of almost 700m PLN.
The above mentioned restructure plan was implemented in 2014, without acceptance from the labor unions, but soon it was slightly modified after many negotiations with the miners. For the first time in its history, in order to save 36.1m PLN Kompania Węglowa decided also to introduce downtime in some mines (and decrease production to 33m Mt). The restructure plan was supposed to bring 1.2bn PLN of savings by 2020.
At the beginning of 2015 government’s intervention and announcement of necessity of shutting down some facilities caused protests (not strikes; mines were still working and employees were expressing their discontent after working hours). The whole mess ended with signing and agreement of 17th January between the government and labor unions, in which State promised further restructure, with the main project on the banners – Nowa Kompania Węglowa.
In the whole period, KW was led by 5 various people (3 CEOs and 2 acting-CEOs) with different plans and philosophies on how to run the company: J. Strzelec-Łobodzińska, M. Uszko, M. Taras, P. Rykala and K. Sędzikowski.
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