Swiss oil and metal traders Trafigura BV Ltd. was announced on July 22 as the winner of a tender to lease the property of Slovakia's ailing copper producer, Kovohuty Krompachy. From the original five bidders, only three took part in the final tender, which was called by state bank VÚB.
Kovohuty Krompachy was declared bankrupt, and a receiver appointed, at the beginning of this year.
According to available information, Trafigura BV Ltd. will now take over part of the company's employees, while the lease contract gives the Swiss investor the pre-emptive right to buy the whole company.
Kovohuty Krompachy got into difficulties last year when world copper prices dropped to their lowest levels in recent memory. The firm became deeply indebted to the VÚB bank, and at the beginning of 1999, VÚB took control of the company by calling in its loans and forcing Krompachy to forfeit the shares it had provided as collateral.