Spectator reported that Žiar nad Hronom based Slovakia's only aluminium producer Slovalco is laying off 300 of its 450 employees in response to soaring energy costs, emissions restrictions and falling aluminium prices as it is is also considering a complete shutdown of its plant. The company has been sounding the alarm about its situation for several months. Production of aluminium at the plant was down 40% in February alone due to high costs of electric energy, while electricity expenses increased threefold year on year.SLOVALCO was established in 1993. On 7 June 1993 Slovalco was established and was wholly-owned by ZSNP. In October 1993 the capital participation was divided between ZSNP 80 %, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development 10 % and Hydro Aluminium 10 %. EBRD extended credit and specialists from Hydro Aluminium and Slovalco formed a project team in order to complete the construction. The aluminium was first produced in a modern and ecological way on 1 June 1995. Full-scale production was reached in December 1995. At that time, 172 pots (230 kA) were in operation. Design capacity was 108,500 tonnes per year. As part of the project the extrusion ingots Casthouse was built. In March 2001 the Expansion project was approved. Later, the project was enhanced by an intensification project involving the intensification of the current in the Potroom from 230 kA to 250 kA. In April 2003 the whole pot line reached 250 kA and on 6 August the last of 54 new pots installed within the Expansion project was put into operation. Today, Slovalco operates 226 pots. The production capacity of primary aluminium represents approximately 165 thousand tons per year. Hydro owns 55.3% of Slovalco plant which produces primary aluminium on one prebake line.