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MAL owes HUF 2 bln in outstanding electricity and gas bills, paper reports

The Hungarian Aluminum Production and Trading Company (MAL) owes more than HUF 2bn in unpaid gas and electricity bills, the political daily Magyar Nemzet reported on Friday.

Communications Director István Kutas of electricity and gas distributing company E.ON Hungária confirmed the daily that MAL was late with payment.

He declined to specify, however, a precise amount of MAL's unpaid energy bills though he told the newspaper that MAL owes the company about as much as the entire population of Veszprém (a city with population of 64,000 in central west Hungary) pays for gas and electricity in an entire year.

Kutas said that outstanding bills of this magnitude represent a risk factor even for a company such as E.ON Hungária, the Hungarian unit of German energy giant E.ON, adding that MAL's specific situation and E.ON Hungária's partnership with the company, justify the extended grace period MAL has received.

A containment reservoir burst at MAL's plant in Ajka (C Hungary) last October, killing ten people and flooding two nearby villages with red sludge.