October 28, 2013 / 1:17 PM / 6 years ago

Poland's Kompania Weglowa to shed mines, jobs to restore profits

KATOWICE, Oct 28 (Reuters) - The European Union’s biggest coal miner, Kompania Weglowa, plans to shed almost half of its 15 mines and cut more than 7,000 jobs by 2020 in a bid to restore profitability, the Polish state-owned company said on Monday.

Involved in Poland’s flagship energy project - a 1.8 gigawatt power plant in the south of Poland being built by PGE - Kompania Weglowa has reported huge losses as it struggles with high costs and low coal prices.

“In the restructuring plan we adopted the deadline of 2020, but special initiatives are scheduled for 2014-2015, so that by the end of 2015 we could report a positive operating result,” Marek Uszko, Kompania Weglowa’s deputy head, told reporters.

The company, which booked a net loss of 295 million zlotys ($97.33 million) in the first nine months of this year, also plans to reduce employment.

“Kompania Weglowa would like to reduce the employment level ultimately to about 50,000 from the more than 57,000 now,” Uszko said, adding that miners will keep their employment guarantees until 2015, but shifts between mines will be necessary.

The group plans to reduce the number of mines it operates to 8 from 15 currently.

Uszko said that Kompania Weglowa would consider inviting a Polish power company to join its project to build a 1,000-megawatt coal-fired power plant in the south of Poland for about 6-7 billion zlotys.

Kompania Weglowa will present the restructuring plan to its workers’ representatives by November 19. Trade unions at the company have already said they are prepared to strike over the threat of job losses.

$1 = 3.0310 Polish zlotys Reporting by Wojciech Zurawski; writing by Agnieszka Barteczko; editing by Jason Neely

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