Serbian bus manufacturer Ikarbus is set to be privatised in mid-2019 and the new majority owner will be China’s Yinlong, which plans to extend the product range to electric vehicles, says Ikarbus CEO Aleksandar Vicentic.
The privatisation process is already underway and Vicentic expects a 51 pct stake in the Zemun, Belgrade-based factory to be sold to the Chinese partner in mid-June.
The government will retain an approximately 26 pct stake, with the rest to go to small shareholders, Vicentic told Tanjug.
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“Yinlong will also purchase around 9.5mln euro’ worth of Ikarbus debts,” he said.
“Ikarbus has not been operating well since the middle of 2018. We have projects, but not enough. We are currently working on seven buses for a buyer in Hungary, two more buses for local customers, and we are also doing maintenance of buses used in public transport in Belgrade,” said Vicentic.
He stated that about 140 employees received 200 euro per year of their employment in Ikarbus as severance pay, while 120 employees remained in the company.
“These were mostly older employees. We managed to keep all our engineers though”, Vicentic added.
Vicentic also said that Yinlong was one of the world’s largest manufacturers of batteries for electric vehicles, and a major manufacturer of electric cars, electro-ammonium and electrodes.
“Yinlong has serious plans for Ikarbus. It will retain the existing product range and extend it to electric vehicles, which it plans to offer to southeast European countries first and then to the rest of Europe as well,” Vicentic said.
Ikarbus was founded in 1923, as the first aircraft producer in the Balkans. Later, the company changed its business activity to manufacturing buses. Ikarbus produced its first bus in 1954, under the license of the Austrian company Saurer. So far, more than 20,000 buses have been manufactured in this factory, of which a considerable number is exported.
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