by Arthur Yernjakyan
The fate of Nairit Plant will be decided within the next two months, Armenian Minister of Energy and Natural Resources Yervand Zakharyan told ArmInfo when commenting on the July 10 action of protest. Over 100 employees of the Plant gathered near the building of the Armenian Government and demanding that the Plant should pay them the arrears of wages.
The minister said that arrears of wages have accumulated over the past 15 months and total about 5 billion drams. The total debt of the Plant is nearly 50 billion drams (about 130 million USD). Zakharyan stressed that at the moment the Ministry is discussing measures to overcome the current situation. "I think the fate of the Plant will be decided within the next 2 months", he said.
To note, Armenian Prime Minister Hovik Abrahamyan invited the representatives of the Plant to a conversation. The results will be made public later.
This is not the first action of protest held by Nairit employees. A similar action of protest was initiated on May 21 by the movement "Will". The founder of the movement, Artashes Avetisyan, urged everyone to join the fair demands of the Nairirt Plant employees to provide them with a job and to pay the arrears of wages. "We don't need false promises of the authorities. Let them match words with deeds," Avetisyan said.
On 25 December 2013, Rosneft, L.L.C. PIRELLI Tyre Russia, and Rosneft Armenia signed a Memorandum of Understanding in Yerevan. The Memorandum envisages creation of a styrene-butadiene rubber (SBR) production joint venture in Armenia. The fixed assets of Nairit Plant and its principal shareholder Rhinoville Property Limited were transferred to Interbank as a result of non-redemption of a loan. The 70 mln USD loan was provided in 2006 against security of the Plant. The latter received the loan for 5 years, i.e. till late Dec 2011, at 12,5% p.a. The current debt of the Plant is $130 mln.