TALLINN - Galvex Estonia officially launched its steel galvanization facility last week in the Port of Muuga after nearly a year of testing.
About 240 million euros were invested into Galvex' facility, the largest single investment into an industrial enterprise in the Baltics.
Argo Aavik, quality control manager with Galvex Estonia, said the line currently handled four to five rolls of steel per hour.
All the line operators had to pass special training and had to have some proficiency in English before employment, he added.
The galvanization line produces galvanized steel for the construction, automotive and appliance market.
"We also plan to open a painting line next year, and we're looking forward to opening a cutting facility, because there are few companies on the Estonian market who can offer cut galvanized steel sheets," said Aavik.
In Estonia, Galvex currently sells only about 3 percent of its production.
With a maximum rolling capacity of 500,000 metric tons per year, the company galvanizes Russian, Ukrainian, U.S. and other origin steel and then ships it to Scandinavia and Western and Eastern Europe.
The current capacity of 300,000 tons will be increased to 400,000 tons next year.
Galvex officials say the plant's continuous hot-dip steel galvanization facility is one of a kind in Estonia. Four other companies in the country offer regular hot-dip galvanization.
Galvex Trade Ltd. is a Bermuda-based company with production facilities in Estonia.
Galvex currently employs 161 workers in Estonia.
The company reportedly suffered from a major theft earlier this year when about 2,000 tons of steel worth about 1 million euros disappeared.
Several months prior to the incident three top managers – all local – left the company, which is owned by U.S. investor Daniel Bain, Barry Bernsen, Bayerische HypoVereinsbank and Zurich Insurance.
Bain reportedly said on Nov. 20 that he was contemplating acquiring the stake of co-owner Barry Bernsten.
Although the company has not confirmed the report, the company's sales manager, Olesija Roos, said that the deal was agreed in principle.
When Bernsten said in spring that he wanted to sell his stake, Bain did not rule out the possibility that he may acquire it himself.
Bain and Bernsten originally owned 45 percent of Galvex each.
Estonian police opened an investigation based on the complaint of the company owners.