The Slovenia Times

Delo concerned by power play at SIJ


The firm grip of the Russian owners of SIJ, which caused many departures of good staff last year, got even tighter last week, when first the supervisory board was overhauled and than two old members were appointed to the management board.

It seems that the younger brother Andrey, SIJ chairman, decided to stand up to his older brother Yevgeny, who has been increasingly pulling the strings although he is not a member of any company body, thus bypassing all rules of corporate management.

He obviously used his leading position at Dilon, the company which owns three quarters of SIJ, and swept away all of the supervisors his brother had appointed to appoint those who suit him.

He also appointed former SIJ officials to the management board to restore trust in the management, as stakeholders had started raising their eyebrows due to recent developments.

Although some of them, including the state as a co-owner, nod to the changes, the outcome of the sibling rivalry is unpredictable, as Yevgeny may hit back, the paper says.

The new supervisors will not necessarily significantly improve the corporate management, because all representatives of the capital in the supervisory board bar the two representatives of the state may be in conflict of interest.

As many as four of them are working at SIJ, meaning that they are supervising themselves and their bosses, while one of them is the chairman of Geoplin, SIJ's gas supplier.

The state did not endorse the new supervisors although it reportedly supports staffing changes at SIJ. The state has so far not been too happy with how SIJ conducted business and has been striving for a stock agreement with the Russians or a while.

Patience is also running out to bank creditors who provided a syndicated loan and demand poultry producer Perutnina Ptuj to be separated from SIJ.

"With SIJ being the biggest Slovenian steel company and a major employer, we can only hope that the company and employees will not have to pay for the power play will, as it is often the case.

"The steel industry is on the rise now, but since the US is thinking of restricting the imports of steel in the US, it might be in for a trade war," warns the paper under the headline Power Play the Russian Way.


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