Czech PM Not Allow CO2 Certificates Transfer from Liberty Ostrava
Czech media CTK reported that by Czech Republic Prime Minister Mr Andrej Babiš, after talks with the company's management, announced tha the management of the Liberty Ostrava has promised not to lend emission allowances to a Romanian sister company Liberty Galati. He told "Here was the intention to lend emission allowances, which are the company's assets, to a Romanian sister. We don't like it. We have strongly asked management that we do not want this. The group does not consolidate, so we do not know the transactions within the group. When the investor entered, he promised to invest. We insist on that. The company is doing well. The point is for what she earned to stay in the Czech Republic. So that this money, even in the form of emission allowances, does not go abroad.”
According to the Czech Minister of Industry and Trade Mr Karel Havlíček, the Ostrava smelter owns allowances worth around 5.6 billion crowns (EUR 216 million). He said "We perceive allowances as a long-term asset, they can serve as a source for future investments or as a cash insurance if the company gets into trouble. If allowances remain, there is a presumption that the company can operate.
In this context, the Liberty Ostrava unions on April 13 have declared a strike readiness at least until the end of April and the promise is also seen by trade unions as an important step forward. Trade union OS KOVO Liberty Czech Republic Chairman Mr Petr Slanina said "We will leave the betting standby for now. The critical deadline for the withdrawal of allowances is the end of April. We will leave the strike readiness until the end of April. If everything that has been said here is then confirmed, we will cancel it.”
GFG spokesperson said “LIBERTY Ostrava was pleased to welcome Prime Minister Babiš and his team to the steelworks this morning and were pleased that they reiterated their support for the plant's transformational projects. We also confirmed that the plant's CO2 certificates will continue to be used for the benefit of LIBERTY Ostrava."
On 7 April, Romanian media Ziarul Financiar had reported that GFG Alliance’s Liberty Steel’s Romanian subsidiary Liberty Galati urgently needs EUR 100 million to purchase the CO2 certificates that it sold last year and is reportedly in talks with sister company Liberty Ostrava from the Czech Republic to obtain the certificates that the Czechs did not use. Under the ETS scheme operated by the European Union, Liberty Galati received some EUR 100 million worth of CO2 certificates. However, the company sold them, planning to repurchase them from the market this April when it has to return to the EU the certificates corresponding to the previous year's CO2 emissions.
There are separate media reports that Czech union OS KOVO is also trying to find the whereabouts of EUR 77 million in state-backed Covid-19 loans, which it says the mill is paying interest on but has not received.