LARCO is one of the five largest ferronickel producers in the world. It operates a smelting plant in Larymna, in central Greece which processes the laterites they mine to produce ferronickel with an 18%-24% nickel content. LARCO also holds mining rights in various locations in Greece in four bundles: the Agios Ioannis mines (near Larymna), the Evia mines, the Kastoria mines and the Servia lignite mine. Some of these mining rights are leased from the State or third parties, whereas others are owned by LARCO. Pursuant to art. 21 of Law 4664/2020 (GG A’ 32/14.02.2020) LARCO has entered into a Special Administration process as of 28.02.2020, and a Special Administrator has been appointed.
HRADF holds 55.2% of the share capital of LARCO, the National Bank of Greece 33,4% and the Public Power Corporation 11,4%.
The DG Competition of the European Commission has determined, through its decision Nr. C (2014) 1818 final / 27.03.2014, that LARCO has received illegal state aid in the past and has demanded the recovery of these amounts (“Recovery DG Comp Decision”). Pursuant to the Recovery DG Comp Decision, the sale of certain assets of LARCO in a transaction structure which inter alia ensures the absence of economic continuity from LARCO (“Transaction DG Comp Decision”) has been approved from a state aid perspective.
In the context of implementing the Transaction DG Comp Decision, the Hellenic Republic has mandated HRADF to conduct a tender for the long term lease of certain mining rights and assets owned by it which are currently being leased to LARCO, as prescribed under art. 55 par. 7 of Law 4223/2013 (GG A’ 287).The Special Administrator has also launched a tender for the sale of other mining rights and assets belonging to LARCO.