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Greece seeks to avert nickel producer Larco shutdown

[ATHENS] Greece is trying to avert the possible closure of Europe's biggest nickel producer Larco and is looking at ways to ensure there are no interruptions to its electricity supply, a Greek energy ministry source said on Wednesday.

Larco, which is 55 per cent owned by the Greek state, owes about 280 million euros(S$435.4 million) in unpaid electricity bills to state-controlled power utility Public Power Corp. (PPC), also a minority shareholder in the company.

PPC has asked Greek grid operator ADMIE cut off the electricity supply and Greek authorities have been in discussions with all involved parties in an effort to keep them going, a senior energy ministry official told Reuters on condition of anonymity.

"We are seeking a solution so that the power supply is not cut off," the official said, adding that Energy Minister George Sthathakis held talks this week with the managements of PPC and Larco over the issue.

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He is due to meet representatives of Larco's workers later on Wednesday, the official said. Larco employs about 1,000 people in Greece.

PPC and Larco were not immediately available for comment.

The European Court of Justice ruled in February that Greece should recover what it had described as state aid of 135.8 million euros granted to Larco.