It’s a good sign that Baltic Railway Holding has begun paying for works already completed, added the mayor, so that the outstanding bills to contractors are finally getting covered.
According to Rāviņš, about 70% of the construction is complete, with the remainder set to be finished by the end of the year.
“We’ve agreed with the company representatives that as soon as work resumes, so will the hiring and training of staff. It’s still being planned for at least 200 job positions,” Jelgava’s mayor added.
Baltic Railway Holding was formed in 2012 under the name UVZ Baltija with 10.1 million euros in share capital. Its only owner is Luxembourg-based UVZ International, however as a joint-stock company it is not required to specify its exact list of shareholders.
As for another troubled heavy machine maker in town, bus-maker Amo Plant, Rāviņš was less sanguine about its prospects.
“We’re not seeing any activity from Moscow’s ownership interests. Promises we’ve gotten from the factory remain just that – promises. It’s critical to the city that they resume production,” he said. Moscow’s city government is largest shareholder of Amo Plant and therefore holds the decisive prerogative in the company’s further development.
He went on to say that Netherlands firm VDL has expressed interest in renewing production and assembly of the bus line, even to the point of hiring the necessary specialists and engineering technicians.
“But the solution to the problem would be finding new investors or cooperation partners,” Rāviņš noted.
Amo Plant has been under threat of court-ordered protective proceedings against bankruptcy since last year, however so far has evaded a complete shut-down. The company was founded in 2005 with declared share assets worth about 30.88 million euros. Moscow’s city government holds 92.6%, the Jelgava city council 2.7%, the company Amo Zil owns 4.4% and Ferrus 0.3%.
In April the mayor met with Russia's Ambassador to Latvia Andrey Veshnyakov, who accompanied the chief executives of Baltic Railway Holding board chairman Andrey Sachik and Amo Plant general director Valeriy Juhnyevich to visit both facilities and discuss prospects for resolving their difficulties.