EBRD loan to restore and modernise steel production in Croatia

By Axel  Reiserer

The EBRD is supporting the efforts to restart production at the steel factory in Sisak in central Croatia. The location has a long history of steel operations and has been a major employer. The Sisak Ironworks have been acquired by the Italian company Danieli and their steel company ABS, currently embarking on a restructuring and modernisation programme which the EBRD is supporting with a €20 million loan.

The plans include the restoration of the plant’s capacity to fully integrate the operations in Sisak into the production chain of the parent company. Sisak will produce semi-finished steel products that would then be transported either to ABS main facilities in Udine, Northern Italy, or further to German and other markets.

ABS, a European leader in special steels, is a subsidiary of the Danieli group, one of the global leaders in supplying steel plants. ABS is a leading supplier of steel for the automotive and power sectors.

The Sisak plant was, among others, chosen because of its good transport connections with ABS’s major customers. It was previously owned by US CMC, which acquired the plant in 2007 and operated the plant until 2011, introducing certain new investments in steelmaking.

Zsuzsanna Hargitai, EBRD Director for Croatia and Hungary said: “This investment provides a stimulus to high value steel production in Croatia. The EBRD is strongly behind efforts to strengthen the industrial basis of Croatia through the promotion of competitive and efficient companies and the mobilisation of its strong engineering tradition. We are especially pleased that the investment programme in Sisak will result in significant environmental, energy and resource efficiencies.”

Alessandro Brussi from Danieli added: “ABS Sisak will operate in Croatia with the same quality and competitiveness already achieved by ABS in Italy for a long time. We are very pleased to have the EBRD as a reliable and committed partner in the internationalisation of the Danieli Group.”

The EBRD has been active in Croatia as an investor since the country’s independence and to-date has invested more than €2.5 billion in some 140 projects. The Bank’s activities cover all sectors of the economy and are especially strong in infrastructure, corporate, financial institutions and energy.