March 25, 2020 / 3:50 PM / 5 days ago

Bulgarian arms maker to cut up to 2,000 jobs over coronavirus

SOFIA, March 25 (Reuters) - Bulgaria’s biggest weapons maker Arsenal said on Wednesday it will cut up to 2,000 jobs by the end of next month as a result of decreased demand and worsening conditions during the coronavirus outbreak.

Another 1,000 would also be released after then due to the “force majeure situation”, Arsenal’s general director Nikolay Ibushev said in a statement.

The company attributed the situation to the global downturn over the coronavirus epidemic, transport problems affecting both shipments of products as well as the flow of tools, chemicals and other materials for production, and lower fuel prices which have hit the budgets of some of its traditional clients.

“Despite the difficult situation for Arsenal Kazanluk, we do not lose hope that there will be new good times for the company, in which we will be able to rehire a large part of the workers and professionals with whom we are now forced to part,” Ibushev said.

Arsenal, based in the central town of Kazanluk, is one of the largest employers in the Balkan country of seven million people, with nearly 9,000 staff.

As of Wednesday, Bulgaria had 242 confirmed cases of the coronavirus and three deaths. The Black Sea state has introduced a state of emergency, closing schools, restaurants and bars, and advised social distancing until April 13. (Reporting by Angel Krasimirov; Editing by Andrew Cawthorne)

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