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Greece's Larco to slash nickel output by 20% to settle debt, continue operations

Larco SA, Europe's largest nickel producer, will reduce its production by 20% as part of an emergency agreement with the Greek government to settle its debt and continue operations, Fastmarkets reported Jan. 9.

The debt-laden company will also pay €4 million per month to Greek state-controlled electric utility Public Power Corp. SA, or PPC, for electricity consumption.

Greek Minister of the Environment and Energy George Stathakis said that no deal has been reached yet on the repayment of Larco's nearly €300 million debt plus interest.

The state holds a 55% interest in Larco, which owes about €280 million in unpaid electricity bills to PPC. The power utility also holds a minority stake in the nickel producer.

Recently, PPC agreed to continue supplying electricity until Jan. 11, extending the previous Jan. 1 deadline to cut off power.

The government has been working on a plan to avoid the shutdown of Larco, which also involved lowering its output to correspond to lower nickel prices and reduction in wages.

Larco operates the namesake Larco nickel project in the country. The company, which employs around 1,000 people, produced 21,800 tonnes of nickel in 2016, according to Refinitiv Eikon data.