Argentina steps in to protect Impsa

ARGENTINA: The Argentinean government has moved to protect jobs at struggling turbine maker Industrias Metalurgicas Pescarmona SAIC (Impsa).

Following talks between the Federal Ministry of Labor and the governor of Impsa's home province of Mendoza Francisco Perez, the government will supplement workers' monthly pay packets by up to Argentina Peso 2000 (US$236). This will run for the next four months under its Productive Recovery Program, known as Repro.

On his Twitter account, Mendoza's Minister of Labor, Justice and Government, Rodolfo Lafalla, said the move would safeguard 1,084 positions at Impsa facilities in the western province where it produce both wind and hydroelectric turbines.

It comes as local media were reporting that Impsa had cut production and was preparing to let go several hundred employees.

The engineering firm's finances were thrown into chaos after Venezuela's state power firm Corpoelec SA delayed payment of bills totaling more than $1 billion.

Brazilian sister company Wind Power Energia SA has faced similar problems. Its situation has been further complicated by Argentina's strained relations with international financial markets.

Last month Impsa announced it would miss interest payments on local bonds and that it would sell wind-farms in Brazil and Uruguay to raise much-needed cash.