Credit Suisse lend Belarussian hardware plant EUR 5 mln

MINSK. Feb 21 (Interfax) - Credit Suisse has lent the Rechitsa Metalware Plant (RMZ) from the Gomel region in Belarus 5 million euros to re-equip its fasteners division under a program for the period 2006- 2008, the company told Interfax.

"Low interest and a tenor of 4.5 years made this deal more attractive than offers from other investors," the company said, without disclosing any other terms of the loan.

Byelorussian Steel Works (BMZ) is guaranteeing the loan.

RMZ said it originally drafted a program costing 1.4 million euros to organize the production of nuts and bolts. This was expanded to include the fastener division upgrade, which will cost 3.6 million euros.

RMZ said the projects would reduce production costs and inputs, and enhance product quality, which will bolster the plant's export potential.

The Rechitsa plant increased production by 8.3% to 81,200 tonnes in 2006. Output in value grew 10.1% to 118.1 billion Belarussian rubles (2,141 Bel. rubles/$1 on Feb. 21). Exports jumped 24.6% to 87.1 billion rubles.

The plant produced more than 40,000 tonnes of nail wire and 17,600 tonnes of fasteners in 2006, respectively 8.3% and 18.6% more than in the previous year. Production of regular wire dropped 1.4% to 22,400 tonnes.

The plant increased production by 12% year-on-year to 12,300 tonnes in January 2007, according to preliminary figures. Output in value increased by 8.6% to 11.9 billion rubles.

The Rechitsa plant, which opened in 1912, is one of the country's biggest manufacturers of metalware products. The plant has been part of a production association based around the Byelorussian Steel Works (BMZ) since January 2006.

The Rechitsa plant exports more than 70% of its products to Europe and other CIS countries.