Četvrtak, 19 Maja, 2022

ONLY 40 PUBLIC COMPANIES CAN BE SUCCESSFULLY PRIVATISED

By 2014 a myriad of companies which in times of self-management socialism belonged to the community, was reduced to 560. Nowadays, they are 80, and only 40 of them are interesting for potential buyers. The rest is highly questionable and difficult to sell (mostly having unresolved property issues and awaiting court decisions on the subject). According to government sources the already initiated privatization cases will be dealt according to the established model, while those lacking conditions necessary for a legal sale will be closed. This last wave of privatisations has brought to budget less than 10 million euros while the rest went to various creditors.
“Petrohemija”of Pancevo (petrochemical industry), “Lasta” of Belgrade and “Severtrans” of Sombor (bus companies), “JAT Apartments” on mountain Kopaonik (tourism) and “Yugoslav River Transport”, are only few of famous companies that are to be privatised.
In its last report from December last year, the omnipresent IMF suggested to Serbian Government to “resolve” the status of some public companies. On the top of the list was “Petrohemija”, which –according to Fund’s experts – should be sold by the end of 2020. The experts defined it as “unsustainable in the long run”, however, their opinion is not binding for Serbian Government.
It’s interesting that “Petrohemija” has successfully accomplished its well-prepared restructuring plan: 47.7% of its debt was cancelled and the remaining 52.3% converted to company shares. By doing this, the company has become ready to re-enter business life.
The idolatry of private ownership in industry and contempt for any kind of state-sponsored production is typical for Serbian neoliberals. President’s statement (apology) concerning the privatization of the last relevant domestic bank (“Komercijalna bank”) has been highly symptomatic (“A private owner will invest in a profitable way, while public management will look for risky projects”). It has shown one more time the Government’s negative attitude towards community control over the economy and the utmost condescendence to the claims of domestic and international capital.

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