Montenegrin firm Uniprom Group’s subsidiary Uniprom D.O.O. (KAP) broke ground last week on its new €15-million aluminium billet factory.
The factory, which is expected to commence production by the end of the year, is the second such project undertaken by the firm in recent months. This project will join with a new silumin factory to add 80 new jobs to the area.
Several dignitaries were on hand for the event, including Montenegro’s Minister of Economy Dragica Seculić.
“Continuation of aluminium production is of great importance for the overall economic development of Montenegro, and through announced investments ‘Uniprom’ will continue to strengthen its position on the aluminium market, which will greatly contribute to strengthening the Montenegrin economy.”
Seculić continued by noting the plant and its ownership for approaching the project with clarity of vision and certainty in short- and long-term developmental goals.
“In addition to the already installed silumin factory, which will produce 30,000 tons of special alloys of an outstanding foreign market value of US$75 million, which will be opened soon, we are starting to implement the next project, which is the construction of a new factory of aluminium billets/logs,” explained Uniprom’s owner Veselin Pejović.
Montenegro’s Prime Minister Duško Marković said in an earlier visit to the site that the €36 million invested to date in the firm will likely be augmented with another €30 million due to the government’s opinion that it represents a superior opportunity for his country’s economic improvement.
“A new modern industrial centre is practically being developed in Montenegro,” he opined. “I am sure that most citizens do not know about it, not only in Montenegro but also in Podgorica. New plants and new factories for the finalization of aluminium production are being developed here.”
Though making several moves to improve and augment the plant’s alumina refining operation, a cloud of uncertainty continues to hover over the plant’s future. One of the country’s major employers and exporters, the plant has been the locus of a bitter fight between the Montenegrin government and Russia’s En+ Group. Originally built by Pechiney in 1969, the plant was privatized in 2005, with Salomon Enterprises Limited snapping up almost 2/3rds of the plant’s ownership. Salomon was subsequently rechristened Central European Aluminum Company (CEAC), and the En+ subsidiary soon began significant investments in upgrades at the plant.
However, the relationship soured due to accusations that the Montenegrin government made significant misrepresentations as to the plant’s actual assets. Amid scores of unresolved issues between the state of Montenegro and En+ Group, the government sold its interest in KAP to Uniprom for €28 million in 2014.