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INTERVIEW - Macedonia's Makstil eyes profit in 2014, to invest 10 mln euro in new equipment

INTERVIEW - Macedonia's Makstil eyes profit in 2014, to invest 10 mln euro in new equipment

SKOPJE (Macedonia), July 18 (SeeNews) – Macedonian steel mill Makstil [MSE:STIL] expects to end 2014 in positive territory despite the difficulties facing the global steel industry, higher production costs and reduced output, its general director said.

Makstil’s financial result is expected to be on par with last year’s mainly due to the intervention of its majority shareholders, Ivan Banovski told SeeNews in an emailed interview without elaborating.

The biggest shareholder in Makstil is Duferco Skop Investment Ltd, with a 62% stake, followed by Cyprus-registered Minyork Overseas Ltd, which holds a stake of 19%, both part of international Duferco Group.

Makstil ended 2013 with a net profit of 5.4 million denars ($68,100/50,400 euro), 27% up on the year, as the volume of finished goods production fell 30% to 154,282 tonnes, the company said earlier.

The company targets to produce 120,000 tonnes of semi-finished casting products (slabs) and 180,000 tonnes of hot-rolled finished products (heavy plates) this year, he said.

Banovski also said the company will invest over 10 million euro ($13.6 million) in a new dust collection system, which is expected to be operational by the end of the year.

The installation of the new equipment should be completed by the end of October, to be followed by its connection to the existing facilities and cold trials.

In order to reduce the environmental impact, the company decided to run the steel mill at 30% of its capacity, until the end of October 2014. In the final stage of the installation process, the production will halt for two months.

The implementation of the investment project, which Makstil will finance with long-term bank loans, is part of the company's efforts to comply with the provisions set in the A-integrated environmental permit, which was obtained last year, Banovski said.

The new dust collection system is a complex state-of-the-art technological solution, which meets the rigid European Union environment-protection standards, he added.

Makstil operates two units of Communist-era giant Zelezara Skopje, the rolling mill for heavy plates and the steelworks.

(1 euro = 61.5865 Macedonian denars)