Troubled Hungarian alumina maker MAL has been declared a company of "exceptional strategic significance" by government decree, the latest issue of the official gazette Magyar Közlöny shows.
Companies declared of "exceptional strategic significance" are subject to different liquidation procedures than conventional companies.
MAL was fined HUF 135 billion last year for environmental damage caused by a toxic sludge spill at its plant in Ajka (NW Hungary). A reservoir at the plant ruptured in October 2010, sending a flood of red sludge through surrounding villages that killed ten people and damaged hundreds of homes. The event was Hungary's worst ever environmental disaster.
MAL had revenue of HUF 32.7 billion in 2011, public records show.
MAL on Friday acknowledged the government decree and said it had worked out a reorganization plan that would ensure it gets back on its feet.
The government decree gives the company the chance to "convince the last few suppliers to support our reorganization plan, ensuring a significant part of jobs can be preserved", the company said. MAL added that it is still waiting for Bakonyi Erőmű, the power plant that supplies it with steam, to sign the reorganization plan, which was audited by one of the "big four" auditing companies.
For further background read MAL - the afterlife of a disaster