The Slovenia Times

Flood-hit companies getting back on their feet

Home appliances maker BSH Hišni Aparati is reopening two production lines after the floods. Photo: BSH archive

Business is getting back on track after destructive floods hit two thirds of Slovenia in early August. Affected companies are gradually resuming production amid clean-up efforts and applications for advance payments of flood damage compensation. There has been uplifting news of a partnership unaffected by flood-related supply issues.

KLS Ljubno, a major automotive industry supplier, was one of the companies worst hit by the floods. The damage has been assessed to top €100 million, and while the company is working to restart production as soon as possible, it will need a few months to do so.

CEO Mirko Strašek is optimistic that they could start partially operating in October but even then they will not be able to supply all of their customers, he told the Slovenian Press Agency in late August.

Among other things, KLS Ljubno has been unable to supply starter ring gears for internal combustion engines to the Volkswagen Group, which was in turn forced to suspend production in its Portuguese facility and reduce production in another two plants in Hannover and Wolfsburg, where the group is based.

Dirk Grosse-Loheide of Volkswagen told the German press agency dpa on 4 September that the group did not intend to end cooperation with the Slovenian supplier, which is supplying more than 80% of the automotive market in Europe with starter ring gears.

"It's an excellent supplier, of course we want to keep it," he said, adding that the group was helping KLS Ljubno clean up its factory and relaunch production, having sent around 130 workers to Ljubno ob Savinji in northern Slovenia, where the supplier is based.

Battery producer TAB Mežica, another company severely hit by the floods, is also gradually resuming production. The Meža River flooded all of its facilities, but the most hit were the plants in Žerjav and Črna na Koroškem in the north of the country.

Production in Žerjav will be in full swing again this week, while in Črna na Koroškem, where the damage was more extensive, business as usual is expected in October.

Customers can still be supplied from stocks built up before the floods, TAB CEO Roman Burja told a press conference on 30 August, adding that the damage was estimated at more than €20 million.

The clean-up effort is also moving along at home appliances maker BSH Hišni Aparati, which reopened two production lines at its Nazarje plant on 4 September.

Production of immersion blenders and mini blenders is back on, and the management expects business will return to pre-floods levels by the end of this year, director Matija Petrin told public broadcaster RTV Slovenija.

Cablex-M, the Mežica-based supplier of electrical products, has now about half of production lines running. CEO Samo Simetinger hopes they will be fully operational again by the end of the month.

The company, which employs 340 people, estimates it suffered over €12 million in flood damage, including €3 million due to production outage.

Businesses have submitted nearly 800 applications requesting advance payments of compensation for the flood damage, worth more than €350 million, the Ministry of the Economy, Tourism and Sport announced on 5 September, as Minister Matjaž Han expressed the hope that payments would be made as soon as possible.

The affected companies have several measures at their disposal, including an advance payment of up to 10% of the estimated damage.

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