EIB agrees to provide 65 mln euro loan to Bulgaria's KCM

The European Investment Bank (EIB) said that it has agreed to provide a 65 million euro ($72 million) loan to Bulgarian lead and zinc producer KCM to support the construction of a new lead refining plant and a zinc electrolysis unit, replacing outdated facilities.

The project will help the company raise its output by 25%, and increase the use of recycled materials significantly, the EIB said in a statement.

The project, part of KCM's technological upgrade programme for 2020-2023, will increase the recycling capacity for different types of secondary waste lead and zinc materials by 15 percentage points - to 35%. This is significantly above the 10-15% levels reported by other European primary smelters, the EIB noted.

The company accounts for about 1% of the total global lean and zinc output, and employs more than 1 500 people.

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KCM’s zinc is used in galvanised steel products, the production of die-cast alloys and of brass and bronze products, while its lead is primarily directed towards the automotive and industrial battery sectors.

KCM, part of local group KCM 2000, turned to a consolidated loss of 9.8 million levs in 2018 from a net profit of 44 million levs in 2017, as its consolidated sales fell to 735.9 million levs last year from 759.2 million levs in 2017.