"In Armenia, CRONIMET attaches great importance to infrastructure development", says company director.
CRONIMET, a German Group of Companies, started its activities in Armenia in mid-90s, 1999 in particular, by forming a joint venture with the "Plant of Pure Iron", which produces molybdenum and ferromolybdenum. In 2004, CRONIMET started negotiating the acquisition of Zangezur Copper Molybdenum Combine (ZCMC) shares and, in early 2005, the final transaction to buy 60% of the shares was implemented. As per the fiscal year results, Zangezur Copper Molybdenum Combine is the fifth largest taxpayer, and the "Plant of Pure Iron ", 51% of whose shares also belongs to CRONIMET, is the 81st. Thomas Heil, director of "CRONIMET Mining", says in his interview to CAPITAL daily that, owing to a number of its investment advantages, Armenia is becoming extremely attractive in the South Caucasus.
-Mr. Heil, CRONIMET has been operating in Armenia for rather a long time and is one of the largest German investors. What, in your opinion, is Armenia's investment policy?
-From the point of view of international combine, Armenia is conducting an investment policy with very good prospects, which is based on stable legislative framework and economic policy of liberalization. For 15 years, CRONIMET Group has been making investments in Armenia, and we can confidently register the positive and stable developments of the investment sphere. The political, legislative and administrative spheres of Armenia have made our developments possible and today we don't see any obstacle for making new investments in Armenia and, in particular, for expanding our investment activity. It would be desirable if infrastructures in Armenia developed more rapidly. We believe that designing new infrastructure routes and the improvement of the already existing ones will facilitate Armenia's integration in the international markets and the growth of investments. Speaking of the positive developments of our investments, I am convinced that by conducting our entrepreneurial activity we will continue contributing to Armenia's economic development.
-Large companies usually undertake some sort of social responsibility. What is your approach like in Armenia?
-As a German company, we are obliged to follow the principles of social economy, hence for us, the well-being of our immediate employees – colleagues and partners – as well as that of the general population are of key importance in terms of social responsibility. Designing the social security system for the CRONIMET Group employees in Armenia and its further development is one of the founding provisions in the strategy of our enterprise. In this respect, CRONIMET, even in the stages of economic crisis, guarantees the preservation of workplaces as well as appropriate and timely remuneration for work. Additional medical insurance and constant optimization of labor conditions are also among the social initiatives implemented by CRONIMET Group in Armenia. To improve general well-being, CRONIMET Group, jointly with its Armenian partners, annually designs and adopts a social program, in the frame of which considerable finance is allocated to educational, cultural, and clerical spheres, as well as to projects aimed at developing infrastructure. The sustainability of CRONIMET Group's social initiatives became more evident through establishing CRONIMET Charity Foundation in 2011, which aims at providing long-term assistance to the implementation of social projects in various spheres in Armenia. It is our wish to initiate new projects that will be aimed at ensuring the process of creating stable and ultimate value. It was to this end that in December 2010, in Yerevan, our project of producing lead-acid batteries in accordance with German standards was implemented successfully. As a result of more than 25 million USD investments, ELBAT plant now provides more than 120 workplaces and produces high-quality batteries that meet international quality standards.
-What new projects does CRONIMET have in Armenia, in the mining industry sphere in particular? What new developments are expected?
-Starting from 2005, CRONIMET Group, jointly with its Armenian partners, has invested more than 300 million USD in developing the production capacities of Zangezur Copper Molybdenum Combine and drastically increasing productivity, as a result of which production capacity has increased by more than 75 per cent. The main direction of our further investment strategy will again be the tangible increase in the production indexes of Zangezur Copper Molybdenum Combine and the related expansion of the value-creation process in Armenia, as well as the increase of tax payments.
-There is an opinion that CRONIMET Group is not a well-known company. Could you tell what position CRONIMET occupies in Germany itself?
-CRONIMET Group was established 30 years ago by Günter Pilarsky in Karlsruhe, Germany. Since its inception, CRONIMET has registered stable development and is today a leading supplier of raw materials for industrial stainless-steel producers internationally. Our Group of Companies currently operates mostly in the sphere of mining industry, trading in metallurgic, manufacturing, as well as primary and secondary raw materials. Our Group of Companies, whose head office is located in Karlsruhe, Baden-Württemberg, is today represented in all main and most important entrepreneurial regions, such as North America, Europe, and Asia. Being the world's second largest company in the sphere, CRONIMET cooperates with such companies as Thyssen Krupp, Arcelor Mittal, Acerinox, Outocumpu, YUSCO, TISCO, and others. CRONIMET Group has more than 56 subsidiaries all over the world, and in 2010 it provided a turnover of about 4 billion USD. Thus, in this case we are dealing with a constantly growing raw material combine that intends to strengthen its international positions even further.