Solvay invests in Sodi Devnya

Belgium“s chemicals producer Solvay has invested BGL 120 million in its Bulgarian soda ash arm Sodi Devnya since it acquired a majority stake in Devnya-based plant in 1997, Sodi“s CEO Ivan Bochukov …

Belgium“s chemicals producer Solvay has invested BGL 120 million in its Bulgarian soda ash arm Sodi Devnya since it acquired a majority stake in Devnya-based plant in 1997, Sodi“s CEO Ivan Bochukov said. Bochukov opened a second electrostatic filter at the thermal power plant Devnya nearby that meets the highest environmental requirements. Solvay invested BGL 3.0 million of own funds in the facility. Some BGL 40 million since 1997 were invested in a heavy soda ash production line that went into service in 1999. In 2000 Sodi Devnya operated at 90% of its capacity for the first time in 16 years, said Bochukov. The plant produced 1.132 million tons of soda ash in 2001, almost double that of 1997 at 680,000 tons. Exports have been ensured by the parent company in Belgium. Sodi made BGL 26 million in pre-tax profit for 2001, said Bochukov. In August 2001, it forecast a BGL 6.0 million net profit for 2001, down from BGL 7.86 million net for 2000. The plant, which employs some 1,140 workforce, is to hold a general shareholders meeting on 14 June 2002. Buying up minority stakes held by individual shareholders is on the agenda. Now Solvay controls 92.75% stake in Sodi. Solvay Sodi was delisted from the Bulgarian Stock Exchange after the majority owner“s stake exceeded 9%. Solvay initially bought 60% stake in Sodi for US$ 160 million on 14 April 1997, pledging to invest US$ 67 million. Solvay-Sodi, which exports some 80% of output to the EU states, neighbouring Balkan countries, Latin America, the Middle East and Africa, says it has a 3.0% share of the world“s market for soda ash, or sodium carbonate, a basic raw material used in glassmaking, some chemicals, detergents and other products.