By Atom Markarian
A Russian company has purchased the state-run Orbita electronics factory in Yerevan which, like many other stagnant Armenian enterprises, used to work for the Soviet military-industrial complex.
According to Minister for State Property David Vartanian, the Rosaviaspetskomplekt group will pay $700,000 to get a 100 percent share in Orbita and repay its debts to local commercial banks. Vartanian said the Russians have pledged to create 250 new jobs and produce $3 million worth of production there this year. They also plan to increase its total workforce to 600 by 2005, he added.
Orbita, which used to produce electronic parts for hi-tech Soviet weapons, has operated at a fraction of its capacity over the past decade, occasionally receiving orders from the Armenian Defense Ministry. It is the fourth Armenian defense enterprise to fall under Russian control over the last six months.
Three Yerevan-based research institutes, which also had been part of the Soviet defense industry, were among five enterprises transferred to Russia late last year in payment for the Armenian government’s $100 million debt to Moscow.