Slow privatization of public enterprises

Although, the Ministry of Economy still has 174 companies in its portfolio to be privatized, many of them are not appealing to prospective buyers at all. These 174 companies employ a total of 53,000 workers. By the year end, the Ministry is supposed to announce privatization of 13 companies including Lasta and the Port of Novi Sad (Luka Novi Sad). Spas and public enterprises will be offered for privatization in the second round.

The Ministry also says that there are several large and important companies that will be offered for sale too including Galenika, RTB Bor Group, PKB Korporacija, Petrohemija, Simpo, and Slavia Hotels. The government is yet to decide what to do with the only candidate for the strategic partnership with Galenika, the British consortium Frontier – Petrovax.

“Privatization of public enterprises should be done very cautiously and, before the final decision is made, a detailed analysis of all positive and negative aspects of sale is carried out. All of the companies in our privatization portfolio are now operating according to the relevant market conditions and they have to settle their financial obligations towards the creditors. Also, apart from Resavica, none of them receive state assistance”, the Ministry explains.

As far the privatization of spas goes, the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Labour, Employment, Veteran and Social Issues plan to privatize three of them – Gejzer, Vranjske Banje and Bujanovac. However, the ownership in these spas is not clear cut and the Retirement and Disability Fund (PIO Fond) and the state have let the relevant courts decide. On the other hand, the Electric Power Industry of Serbia (EPS) is currently doing an inventory of all its assets, and they say that this has nothing to do with the alleged sale of the company.

(Vecernje Novosti, 10.10.2016)

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