The Tender Commission has opened bids of two companies that meet the requirements for a strategic partnership with RTB Bor – the companies are China’s Zijin and Russia’s Ugold Limited – said Minister of Mining and Energy, Aleksandar Antic.
The Minister of Energy expects that, after evaluation of the bids, the contract will be signed in September and that the strategic partner could take operational management of RTB from the beginning of 2019.
He told reporters that the Commission had inspected whether the three bids they had received met the prescribed conditions, and concluded that the bid from the Canadian company Diamond Fields did not meet the necessary conditions, because this offer, in certain elements, was not binding and was not accompanied by a bank guarantee.
“The Commission today opened two bids that meet the requirements and will evaluate these bids as soon as possible. I expect that from 1st January we will have a partner who will take over the management of RTB Bor,” said Antic.
The Ministry of Economy has previously announced that the bids were submitted by three companies, coming from China, Russia and Canada.
The deadline for submission of bids for selection of the strategic partner for RTB Bor expired on 20th August.
Seven companies had purchased tender documentation. Among them are three Russian companies, one Chinese, one Turkish, a Macedonian mine and a company managed by the Serbian businessman, Milan Popovic, who has been working with copper for years.
The Chinese are often mentioned as the most serious candidates for strategic partnership in RTB Bor, and the participation of a large Chinese company was confirmed by the Ambassador of China to Serbia, Li Manchang.
Prior to the tender, 11 companies from Russia, China, Canada, Turkey and the Kazakh-European consortium, which signed a confidentiality agreement in the past year, and which conducted due diligence, showed interest in the RTB.
The tender does not define the equity that will be put up for sale, but the state will select a partner willing to pay $350 million for a minority stake.
“The minimum that we require is that they are no layoffs in the company, that the new partner invests at least $350 million USD and that in the next four to five years, production should increase between three and four times. When this is done, the state will re-examine its stake in the company”, said Prime Minister Ana Brnabić.
Companies had to pay $10,000 for the purchase of tendering documents. A prerequisite for the state even considering the submitted bids is the bidders making a deposit and providing a one-million-dollar bank guarantee.
The companies that have been continuously engaged in the exploitation of copper and other coloured and precious metals with a revenue of at least half a billion US dollars in the past year were eligible to submit a bid.
A strategic partner with a recapitalization of at least $350 million which wants to own a share in RTB Bor may be a domestic or foreign legal entity, but also a consortium formed by the association of domestic and / or foreign persons for the purpose of the strategic partnership.
RTB employs about 5,000 people.
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