Privatisation of spas and special purpose hospitals in Serbia will be launched mid-year, and Economy Minister Željko Sertić expects these facilities to have been sold by late 2016.
When the Privatisation Agency announced a public call for privatisation of 14 spas and special purpose hospitals, businessmen Miodrag Kostić, Petar Matijević and Filip Zepter, as well as companies from Russia, Germany, China, and Cyprus expressed their interest. However, not one of them actually bought a spa because, this time last year, their privatisation was stopped primarily due to lega disputes over the ownership between the state and the Pension and Disability Fund.
„We are working on getting this entire matter concluded and to make spas available for privatisations in the first half of the year“, Sertić said and added that the goal was to make the spas profitable centres operating at the world-class level.
„I am confident that we can do this this year. That’s why we took our time with the spas, i.e. to avoid wrong format of privatisation and, after a few years, look back and realise that the format we chose was not the right one. We have been carefully observing what othe regional countries have been doing in this area and, based on their experiences, we devised a plan while, at the same time, resolving legal issues“, he said.
According to the Minister, some spas could become the classic wellness centres but most of them should remain health resors that could generate large revenue.
„Spas in Hungary and Slovenia are also trying to convert into health resorts so that the guests can spend money both on entertainment and treatments. This is important for us because we have a substantial number of trained professionals. Mostly what we need in recapitalisation in order to make the rooms nicer and provide more entertainment. In this way we would imprve the ambiance. We do have a solid foundation for this“, the Minister concluded.
Since the privatisation was launched in 2014, the spas are thought to have the most valuable assets. So, it does not come as a surprise that leading businessmen and companies are interested in joining in.
Before the privatisation was stopped, the Privatisation Agency received letters of interest for two specialized hospitals – Čigota in Zlatibor and Termal Vrdnik from Matijević. The Russian company Mad Service Plus and German company EES Group GmbH are also interested in Čigota. As for Termal, it has piqued interest from many domestic businessmen. The German group EES was also interested in purchasing the Niška Spa, Mataruška Spa, Bogutovačka Spa, and specialized hospitals Vranjska Banja, Zlatar, Sokobanja, Ribarska Banja, in addition to the special rehabilitation hospitals Merkur in Vrnjačka Banja, Koviljača and Niška Banja.
Also, the Mataruška and Bogutovačka spas attracted Slovenian compan Goražd Klemenčić, apart from several interested individuals from Serbia who are offering strategic partnerships. German company Modus Pflegeprojekt sent a letter of interest for the Bujanovac Special Hospital while the German EES Group and Chinese Dr Dong SA are head-to-head for buing the hospital in Sokobanja. Both companies are also interested in the hospital in Ribarska Banja, and the Banja Koviljača Special Hospital.
This post is also available in: Italiano