Austrian firms get staff home from Tunisia

Oil and gas company OMV has withdrawn most of its staff from Tunisia, it has been reported.Dozens of people have died since last week when thousands of citizens took to the streets to demonstrate against the North African country’s regime.OMV told the Salzburger Nachrichten newspaper today (Thurs) that 54 of its 66 employees have preliminary left Tunisia.The company, which has its headquarters in Vienna, announced earlier this month that it transferred 610 million Euros to take over American firm Pioneer Natural Resources’ exploratory operations in the country.OMV stressed today that the decision to transfer the vast majority of its staff home to await the stabilisation of the situation in Tunisia will have no effect on its production of 7,000 litres of oil per day in the country.Lower Austrian structural engineering firm Doka International also announced today that it withdrew its seven employees from the country, adding that the firm’s Tunisian cooperation partners will continue carrying out orders until the situation calms down.Austrian companies exported goods worth 64.1 million Euros to Tunisia in the first 10 months of 2010, around a fifth more than in the same time span of the previous year. The figure amounts to just 0.1 per cent of overall exports by Austrian businesses.It was meanwhile also reported that four elderly tourists from Salzburg arrived in Austria safely yesterday after being stuck at Djerba-Zarzis International Airport for some days as several flights were cancelled.