MediaToday
News | Wednesday, 25 March 2009

Finance Ministry still evaluating situation at Carlo Gavazzi

Charlot Zahra

The Finance Ministry said it was still evaluating the situation at Carlo Gavazzi a week after the company, which is situated at the Bulebel Industrial Estate, announced it had put its 200-stong workforce on a four-day-week.
“Orders have fallen drastically over the past few weeks. This, coupled with cancellation of orders in the company’s export segments, has had a negative impact on the company’s financial viability and competitiveness,” the company said in a statement issued last Tuesday week.
Asked about the situation at the Carlo Gavazzi factory, the Finance Ministry spokesperson said telegraphically that “government is in talks with this company in order to understand the situation leading to its decision to go on a four-day week.
“Further announcements will be made accordingly,” the spokesperson for Finance Minister Tonio Fenech told Business Today.
The Finance Ministry’s spokesperson gave a curt reply as to the kind of assistance which will be given to Carlo Gavazzi.
“As in previous cases with Methode, Trelleborg and Stainless Steel, Government is seeking to provide investment support to incentivise these companies to attract further investment, guarantee existing jobs and create further jobs,” the spokesperson said.
He maintained the Government was focused “on retaining jobs, and creating new ones in those industries that will definitely bounce back once the global economy starts to pick up again.”
The objective was “to help afflicted companies identify new opportunities in which to invest so that when the economic recovery eventually occurs, those companies would be in a stronger position than now”.
Asked to state the total sum of money that will be dedicated for the rescue package for each of the two enterprises and the rescue packages’ constituent elements, the Finance Ministry reiterated its policy of non-disclosure of the information requested by Business Today due to its commercial nature “in accordance with the Business Promotion Act”.
Last week, when Business Today had asked the Finance Ministry to reveal how much the Trelleborg aid would cost, a ministry official also claimed the information was confidential according to the Business Promotion Act.
But the Business Promotion Act clearly states that the Minister is to publish said information, with details pertaining to whom grants have been given to and by how much.
This newspaper had also contacted the European Commission to confirm that government had granted aid to Trelleborg prior to the approval of the commission. When the minister was alerted that this information had reached us he called our offices to express his concerns over the publication of such information.
“This is sensitive information and if jobs at Trelleborg or livelihood of families are affected because of your article - I will blame you for it,” Fenech had threatened.

czahra@mediatoday.com.mt

 

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25 March 2009
ISSUE NO. 575

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