Polish coal miner KW says needs new capital by end-April

KATOWICE, Poland, Feb 4 (Reuters) - Polish coal miner Kompania Weglowa (KW), beset by low coal prices and rising labour costs, warned on Thursday it needs fresh capital by the end of April or it will again face liquidity problems.

KW, the European Union’s biggest coal producer, has struggled to avoid bankruptcy for more than a year, with a cost cutting plan and a massive sell-off of coal stock piles.

But this has not been enough, the state-owned company, which employs almost 50,000 people, said.

Last October, KW said it needed 700 million zlotys ($178 million) by the end of March to survive.

A government restructuring plan for KW foresees new investors will keep it alive by injecting up to 2 billion zlotys ($497 million). Under the scheme, KW’s 11 mines will be transferred to a new entity with a new shareholder structure.

“We need to complete the process by the end of April because otherwise we will have liquidity problems,” KW chief executive Krzysztof Sedzikowski told a news conference.

“We have started negotiations with potential investors. There are no foreign ones among them. At this moment there are around five investors interested in the project,” he added.

Last month, Poland’s energy minister said he would like the country’s biggest power producer PGE to invest in KW. Other state-run power and financial companies were also expected to provide capital.

$1 = 3.9390 zlotys Reporting by Wojciech Zurawski; Writing by Agnieszka Barteczko; Editing by Alexander Smith