October 13, 2015 / 12:26 PM / 4 years ago

Polish coal miner KW says needs $188 mln by end of March

KATOWICE, Poland, Oct 13 (Reuters) - Poland’s troubled coal miner Kompania Weglowa (KW) needs 700 million zlotys ($188 million) by the end of March next year to survive, CEO Krzysztof Sedzikowski said on Tuesday.

Rescuing Kompania Weglowa, the European Union’s biggest coal producer, has become a major political issue in parliamentary elections to be held on Oct. 25, with the government struggling to keep the firm afloat without job cuts.

The government wanted a number of state-run firms to invest in Kompania Weglowa but none was keen on making a risky investment in the loss-making miner ahead of the election.

Now the government is working on a scheme which allows it to put off key decisions until after the election but helps KW survive for now.

Sedzikowski said the state-controlled miner has to curb investment and secure prepayments for coal to be sold in future.

“By the end of the first quarter we will need 700 million zlotys in order to function normally,” the CEO said.

“Talks with banks and financial institutions on securing 700 million zlotys as soon as possible continue and we hope the negotiations will conclude positively,” Sedzikowski said.

As part of the restructuring plan, Kompania Weglowa has been slashing its coal stocks, selling coal below its production cost, which has also hurt other local coal miners such as the privately-held Bogdanka.

KW has reduced its coal stocks to 1.8 million tonnes from 5.9 million at the end of first quarter of 2015. KW’s 2015 output target is 26.4 million tonnes with 5 million tonnes due to be exported. ($1 = 3.7199 zlotys) (Reporting by Wojciech Zurawski; writing by Agnieszka Barteczko; editing by David Clarke)

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