Yara closes JV plant in Libya on turmoil fears
Oslo, February 22, 2011
Norwegian fertiliser giant Yara is closing its Lifeco joint venture in Libya as fear of growing turmoil in the country could put its employees at risk.
The plant, which produced 900,000 tonnes of urea last year, is located at Marsa El Brega on the Mediterranean coast, about 700 kilometres east of Tripoli, the capital of Libya, which has seen increasingly bloody battles between security forces and anti-government protesters.
Yara owns 50 per cent of the company, with the National Oil Corporation of Libya and the Libyan Investment Authority sharing the other half. It employs about 1,200 people.
"It was decided late on Sunday that the plant would close down production," said Yara spokesman Bernhard Stormyr. "The situation in the country is turbulent, and the shutdown is a precaution."
Stormyr added that there were no signs of turmoil in the plant's vicinity, that there was no immediate risk of material damage to the premises and that the closure was conducted in an orderly fashion.
Lifeco contributed 188 million Norwegian crowns ($33 million) to Yara's profit in 2010, 3 percent of its total operating income. – Reuters