The Slovenia Times

High Tech Project Launched by Foreign Investor Aquafil


The EUR 17m Econyl project was formally launched last month. It involves recycling waste into a compound called caprolactam, the basis for the manufacturing of widely-used plastic polyamide 6. The project was conceived by Julon's owner, Italian firm Aquafil, and is expected to create 45 skilled jobs. Julon boss Edi Kraus describes it as "the beginning of a new story."

When the project was first announced, Julon was importing 98 percent of its caprolactam. It was anticipated that Econyl would allow it to manufacture 26-27 percent of the compound through recycling, enabling it to cut down on the use of oil by 10,000 tonnes, the consumption of gas by 18,000 cubic metres and of water by 150,000 cubic metres. The resulting cut in carbon dioxide emissions was estimated at 20,000 tonnes.

The expected impact is such that Econyl has gained government backing - the state has contributed EUR 3.6m to the project. Economy Minister Darja Radić says that in addition to bringing higher added value to Slovenia, the project is particularly important because it is a joint investment between Italy and the Balkan nation. Italy is currently Slovenia's second biggest trade partner, and fourth biggest foreign direct investor, but there is a desire to extend trade beyond the currently-dominating northern section of the country. It is believed that Econyl will help in this respect.

While the announcement of Econyl was welcomed by daily Delo, the paper emphasised that the advantages it will bring - increased employment opportunities at a time of crisis - have come at a significant cost. With the government having to chip in EUR 3.6m in grants to make the project happen, the state will have paid EUR 45,000 per new job created. This exceeds these employees' annual pay and contributions.
Julon, which is based in Ljubljana, manufactures a range of plastics and synthetic fibres. Its Italian owner Aquafil specialises in the production of Nylon 6 and fibres for carpeted floors. Last year it generated turnover of EUR 432m, up from EUR 330m in 2009.


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