Curbs on gas use due to the ongoing dispute between Russia and Ukraine have forced many companies in Eastern Europe and the Balkans to scale back or even halt production.Activity at the Suzuki plant near Budapest in Hungary was shut down yesterday morning. Workers were sent home but advised to return on Monday. Restrictions have been placed on consumers using more than 500 cubic metres of gas per hour. The Hungarian branch of an Austrian brick and tile manufacturer also reduced its gas usage, meaning one third of the material waiting to be fired in kilns became scrap. Hungary’s biggest meat factory cut production and was forced to suspend the slaughtering of animals. However it could be given an exemption and restart later this morning. Bread manufacturers in the Bulgarian town of Varna have warned that prices will rise if they are forced to switch from natural gas to alternative fuel.