Američki fond hoće četiri firme
Jedan od najvećih svetskih fondova, američki "Blekston" spreman je da u Srbiji investira oko sto milijardi dolara i interesuje se za četiri firme, piše "Blic".
Ovaj fond je zainteresovan za Deltin trgovinski lanac "Maksi", kao i za državna preduzeća "Petrohemiju", "Jat tehniku "i Rudarsko- topioničarski basen "Bor".Kako "Blic" nezvanično saznaje, najviše rukovodstvo Delta holdinga imalo je sastanak sa predstavnicima američkog investicionog fonda, a dalji razgovori i pregovori tek se očekuju.
"Blekston" je zainteresovan i za kupovinu preduzeća u državnoj svojini koja su u gubicima, a imaju potencijal i kao takve fond vidi "Petrohemiju", "Jat tehniku", RTB "Bor", navodi list i dodaje da će se o tome u narednih nekoliko meseci razgovarati sa Vladom Srbije.
Predstavnici Blekstona proteklih dana boravili su u Zagrebu gde su o ulaganjima razgovarali sa vlasnikom Agrokora Ivicom Todorićem, a odmah potom su kontaktirali sa predstavnicima Delta holdinga, jer su zainteresovani za kupovinu "Maksija".
Kako “Blic” nezvanično saznaje, najviše rukovodstvo “Delta holdinga” imalo je sastanak sa predstavnicima američkog investicionog fonda. Dalji razgovori i pregovori tek se očekuju.
Srđan Mišković, direktor “Jat tehnike”, kaže za “Blic” da je iz Vlade, doduše nezvanično, obavešten o zainteresovanosti ovog fonda za “Jat tehniku”.
- Očekivao sam da ću ih videti jer je bilo reči da bi mogli doći da nas vide. I dalje očekujemo da ćemo se sresti jer oni ne mogu kupovati ništa na slepo. O samom fondu ne znam mnogo sem da u vlasništvu ima akcije vrednih svetskih kompanija. U svakom slučaju je pozitivno to što se interesuju jer to znači da nešto vredimo - ističe Mišković.
Saša Pavlov, generalni direktor “Petrohemije”, međutim, ne zna za interesovanje fonda, mada ne krije da bi bio više nego zadovoljan takvim kupcem.
- Nemamo ni zvanične ni nezvanične informacije o tome, ali nas to vrlo raduje. Mi imamo kapacitet za proizvodnju i svaki kupac koji će da uloži novac je dobrodošao. Svakako bih voleo da se sretnem s tim ljudima i vidim šta oni nude - ističe u izjavi za “Blic” Pavlov.
Vlada hoće po svaku cenu da dovede švedsku „Ikeu” u Srbiju
Vlada Srbije namerava da potpiše memorandum o sporazumevanju sa „Ikeom”, kojim bi najpoznatiji švedski proizvođač nameštaja načelno dao saglasnost da u periodu do pet godina u Srbiji izgradi fabriku. Za uzvrat Vlada ne bi išla na tendersku prodaju zemljišta Instituta za stočarstvo, koje je „Ikea” ocenila kao pogodno za izgradnju njenog prodajnog centra, već bi se to rešavalo direktnom pogodbom, s obzirom na to da je reč o izuzetnom važnoj investiciji.
Preduslov da do potpisivanja memoranduma dođe je promena generalnog urbanističkog plana i namene zemljišta Instituta za stočarstvo iz poljoprivrednog u građevinsko. Odmah zatim Vlada bi na sednici donela uredbu o oduzimanju tog zemljišta kojim bi gazdovala Direkcija za imovinu Republike Srbije. Ako bi se postigao dogovor o memorandumu, zemljište bi išlo u direktnu pogodbu.
- Sve zavisi od toga hoće li „Ikea” prihvatiti ovaj predlog - rekao je izvor „Blica” blizak Vladi.
Ovaj predlog, kako tvrdi naš sagovornik, biće u narednih nekoliko dana prosleđen menadžmentu „Ikee”.
Dragan Skalušević, generalni direktor „Ikee” za Srbiju, Hrvatsku i Sloveniju, kaže da oni nemaju te informacije.
- Rekli smo ranije sve što smo imali. Ne mogu ništa više da komentarišem jer smo u pregovorima. Šta god da Vlada Srbije odluči, neka zvanično saopšti, pa ćemo onda i mi reći šta imamo tim povodom - rekao je Skalušević za „Blic”.
Na početku ovog meseca „Ikea” je uputila Vladi Srbije pismo namera u kojem saopštava da je zainteresovana za 35 hektara zemljišta Instituta za stočarstvo. Memorandum bi bio njen odgovor. Parcela Instituta za stočarstvo rasprostire se na 70 hektara i nalazi se pre aerodroma sa desne strane autoputa Beograd-Zagreb, iz pravca glavnog grada Srbije.
Austrijanci zaintresovani za kupovinu Beogradske berze
Direktorka Beogradske berze Gordana Dostanić izjavila je danas da Bečka berza već duže vreme ne krije svoju zainteresovanost za kupovinu balkanskih berzi, pa i kupovinu Beogradske berze, kao i da se može očekivati da u narednom periodu na tu temu dođe do razgovora menadžmenta dve finansijske institucije.
"Direktnih i konkretnih razgovora menadžmenta još uvek nije bilo, ali je za očekivati da do takvih razgovora dođe", rekla je Dostanić na konferenciji za novinare.
Ona je podsetila da je Bečka berza već kupila Ljubljansku berzu i berzu u Pragu, kao i da su njeni predstavnici još pre dve godine vodili razgovore o mogućoj prodaji akcija sa akcionarima Beogradske berze.
"Moguće je da su konkretni razgovori zastali u ovoj godini krize, ali prema najavama, ona od takve vrste razvojnog plana ne odustaje", ocenila je Dostanić.
Dostanić je na konferenciji rekla i da je Upravni odbor Beogradske berze održao svoju sednicu u petak, 9. oktobra i da je na toj sednici za predsednika UO izabran Ivan Ristić. Podsećanja radi, početkom ove godine, član uprave Bečke berze Mihail Bul, najavio je da razgovori o ovoj transakciji na visokom nivou tek treba da uslede. Inače, Bečka berza jedna je od najvećih u ovom regionu, a u ovoj godini zabeležila je dobre rezultate u trgovinskim i tržišnim dešavanjima, u odnosu na druge berze.
September Industrial Producer Prices Drop 0.5% M/M, Up 5.3% Y/Y
September producer prices in the industrial sector fell by 0.5% from a month earlier and were 5.3% higher on the year, data from the National statistics office showed.
In August, producer prices rose by 1.1% from July and were 5.5% higher than a year earlier, the office said on its website.
Serbia's September producer prices, pct change:
TOTAL -0.5 +5.3
Mining industry -5.6 +42.4
Processing industry +0.3 +1.9
Utilities +0.1 +3.2
Belgrade Bourse 9-mo Turnover Drops 70.7% to 189.4 Mln Euro Y/Y
Turnover on the Belgrade Stock exchange, BELEX, fell 70.7% on the year to 189.4 million euro ($281.1 million) through September, BELEX Director Gordana Dostanic said on Tuesday.
In the third quarter alone, volumes fell 61.9%, indicating that the contraction trend is abating, Dostanic told a news conference.
Even if the contraction continues to slow, the stock exchange will not be able to match last year’s trading volume, she added.
The BELEX turnover more than halved to about 60 billion dinars ($957.7 million/645.3 million euro) in 2008.
Equities accounted for 63.1% of the total turnover through September while government bonds comprised 13.1%, Dostanic said. Trading on the over-the-counter market generated 23.8% of total turnover over the review period.
Monthly turnover peaked at 2.59 billion dinars in February while July marked a year-to-date low of 1.17 billion dinars, Dostanic added.
Belgrade-based blue-chip lender Agrobanka posted the biggest gains through September, soaring more than 150%. Its shares rose 1.65% to 11,345 dinars on Monday.
Seed producer Agrocoop, based in the town of Novi Sad in the northern province of Vojvodina, was the biggest loser during the review period, tumbling 59.1%. Its shares last traded on October 5, gaining 19.67% to 365 dinars.
Blue-chip lender AIK Banka, based in the town of Nis, in southern Serbia, was the most traded company during the first nine months of 2009. Its total turnover totalled 2.6 billion dinars. AIK Banka slid 0.4% to 3,005 dinars in Monday session’s highest volume of 29.1 million dinars.
Dostanic also said that the Vienna Bourse, which owns the Ljubljana, Budapest and Prague stock exchanges, is still eying the BELEX but that there have been no concrete talks at management level. According to Dostanic, the Vienna bourse first indicated its interest a couple of years ago but plans have been sidetracked by the crisis.
The blue-chip BELEX15 index of the Belgrade bourse shed 0.62% to 814.85 points on Monday after losing 1.07% on Friday. The broader BELEXline index slid 0.39% to 1,545.82 points on Monday after edging down 0.23% on Friday.
Serbia Sells 2.0 Bln Dinars (21.3 Mln Euro) in 3-mo T-bills
Serbia sold out its offer of 2.0 billion dinars ($31.6 million/21.3 million euro) of three-month Treasury bills at an average interest rate of 11.5%, down from 11.98% at last week’s auction, the Finance Ministry said on Tuesday.
The average accepted price in the auction was equal to 97% of par, the ministry said in a statement.
The ministry sold 200,000 T-bills with a nominal value of 10,000 dinars each, it added. The government securities will mature on January 12, 2010.
In the previous auction of three-month T-bills held on October 6, the ministry also sold its entire 2.0 billion dinar offer.
Serbia holds scheduled auctions of three-month T-bills every week on Tuesdays, of 12-month T-bills on Wednesdays and of six-month T-bills on Thursdays.
The next auctions of 12-month, six-month and three-month T-bills will be held on October 14, October 15, and October 20 respectively.
Serbian Mobile Units of Norway’s Telenor, Austria's Mobilkom To Skip Upcoming Fixed-line Tender
The Serbian wireless units of Norway's Telenor and Austria's Mobilkom, a unit of Telekom Austria, have no plans to bid for a fixed-line licence that the Balkan state will tender shortly, Croatian media reported on Tuesday.
Telenor Serbia has no intention to participate in the procedure, online news portal Poslovni Dnevnik (www.poslovni.hr) reported, quoting Telenor’s Media Coordinator, Goran Stupar.
Mobilkom unit Vip Mobile told Poslovni that the company is currently focused on the mobile services market.
Serbia's Telecommunications Minister Jasna Matic has said that the country's telecoms regulator, Ratel, will call a tender for a second domestic provider of fixed-line voice services by November 11.
State-owned Telekom Srbija is currently the sole provider of fixed-line services in the country of some 9.0 million people. It also controls some 70% of the domestic wireless services market through its unit Mobile Telephony Serbia.
There is little interest among Croatian telecoms companies towards the Serbian market, Poslovni said.
The two largest operators in Croatia, Deutsche Telekom, which owns local telco Hrvatske Telekomunikacije, and Telekom Austria, are already present in Serbia, and new operators are short of the funds required for such projects, it added.
Croatian fixed-line operator Optima Telekom has no plans to expand in the region, head of corporate and marketing communications at the company Pamela Pencinger told Poslovni.
The publication got similar feedback from Croatian TV, fixed-line voice and internet provider B.Net and international telecommunication operator Amis.
According to VoP/VoIP and Internet service provider Metronet Telekomunikacije, in Serbia, like in Croatia, the only recipe for success is to deploy a proprietary telecoms infrastructure.
The CEO of Croatian fixed-line operator H1 Telekom, Kristian Uwe Curkovic, said that the landline tender in Serbia presents an attractive investment opportunity.
"We will not place a bid in this tender, but having in mind that the liberalisation of the telecoms market in Serbia has just begun, we believe that in the future there will be more opportunities for the entry of new players," Poslovni quoted Curkovic as saying.
According to Ratel, Serbia's fixed telephony marked is worth more than 400 million euro ($589 million), and has the biggest growth potential in the region as 41.1% of the population makes calls over landlines versus 37.5% in Croatia, Poslovni said.
ComTrade successfully completed the first Oracle Siebel CRM implementation in the Region
Since 29.09.2009 Promonte company (a part of Telenor Group) in Montenegro is using Oracle Siebel CRM (Customer Relationship management system) in daily operation. CRM system allows the company to manage, synchronize and coordinate the data about its clients, thus creating an advantage over the competitors.
With implementation of CRM solution, Promonte will be able to improve existing outlets for interaction with the end users and introduce new ones, as well as to level out the quality level throughout all sales channels.
This CRM solution was entirely implemented by the ComTrade Business Solutions Center team within record 158 days, as stated in the contract.
This is the first implementation of Oracle Siebel CRM, a world known CRM system, in the Adriatic Region.
“Successful implementation of Siebel CRM system in Promonte represents a significant accomplishment for our company, since we have succeeded to implement this complex system within given deadlines and with no additional costs and with excellent collaboration with our client”, stated Darko Popovic, executive director of Montenegro ComTrade company.
Analysts Remain Optimistic on FDI in Serbia
With a number of high profile infrastructure and industrial projects on the cards the outlook for FDI in Serbia remains rosy.
Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) is something of a bugbear for Serbia, given its potential as a new frontier for so many companies searching for new outlets beyond the saturated climes in the rest of Europe, yet who are put off by this nation’s recent political past.
The ubiquitous cranes and scaffolding in Novi Beograd may have become a tad fewer in number since the onslaught of the financial crisis, but there are still signs that foreign companies are keeping a keen eye on this part of the Western Balkans.
Dragan Pejcic, marketing and research consultant at the Serbia Investment and Export Promotion Agency (SIEPA) told Balkan Insight that: “During the course of 2008, inward foreign direct investment in Serbia amounted to €2.25 billion, and the net figure reached €1.66 billion. Following the first half of the year, with an FDI influx of €1.55 billion, the second half of 2008 saw a decline in foreign capital inflow.
“As a result of the world economic crisis and the global slowdown of cross border investment projects, inward FDI in the period July-December 2008 totalled €700 million, of which Q4 accounted for €365 million.”
This downtrend can be observed everywhere because of the financial problems that have beset the world but Serbia’s position as an emerging nation in southern Europe should make it a special case in many ways, say some observers.
Sasa Djogovic, associate of the Belgrade-based Institute for Market Research, IZIT, told Balkan Insight that: “Unfortunately, the transactions that have occurred between 2001 and 2009 have been the exception and not the rule, when precisely the opposite should be the case. Corruption and high levels of bureaucracy are to blame.”
That said, Serbia’s low levels of corporate tax, which are among the least severe in the whole of Europe, are a means by which the country can attract money from abroad.
Pejcic said: “At the moment, Serbia is perceived as a low-cost investment location. In that light, its highly attractive corporate taxes - i.e. Corporate Income Tax at 10 per cent and VAT at 18 per cent - play a certain role in the investment decision-making process, in addition to relatively low labour costs.
However, FDI decisions are based on complex factors other than the favourable cost structure. They include, for instance, the country’s unexploited market potential and a competitive high quality labour force.”
In a country such as Serbia, whose bridges and roads were damaged during NATO’s bombardment in 1999, infrastructure has been a major interest of foreign interest in recent years.
In early October, Serbian deputy prime minister Mladjan Dinkic met Philip le Oeruom, the World Bank’s Vice President for Europe and Central Asia, to discuss the financing of the Corridor 10 road project. As a result, the World Bank approved $400 million to assist the Serbian budget.
Some observers say that this is exactly what Serbia is crying out for. Djogovic said: “What we have in Serbia is ‘virtual’ and not real stability. There has been a lot of talk about investment in infrastructure but we haven’t seen much progress in this sector.”
However, one of the key issues in the Serbia/World bank deal is that new investors may well be attracted to the country via the liberalised trade agreements that it has reached lately, including that with Russia.
The fact that certain EU member countries have disputes with Moscow on political issues has not, apparently, led to them cutting economic ties with Russia, with whom Serbia is a key cooperator.
Dusan Filimonovic, executive director of the British-Serbian Chamber of Commerce, B-SCC, told Balkan Insight, that: “Potential investors have huge access to a wide market, including Russia, by coming to Serbia. We can see that there will be interest in establishing industrial zones and the like in the coming years.”
Regardless of the economic downturn, the B-SCC has been lobbying British firms to try and encourage them to pump their cash into Serbia.
Filimonovic said: “We recently held a very successful round table networking meeting at the Serbian embassy in London, which attracted more than 100 companies.”
Despite all these developments, Serbia, rightly or wrongly, is regarded as a high-risk destination for investors’ cash because of the violent image it projected right up until the early years of the current century.
Filimonovic said: “In a recent interview for a local daily, a well-known international investor spoke very nicely about Serbia, and announced a new, large-scale project in the recycling sector. He praised our geographic location, transportation infrastructure, and positive experience with the local labour force, [who were] working for his first company in our country. Then, asked about his view of the lack of such investors in Serbia, he explicitly pointed out the widespread perceptions of the country as a high-risk destination adversely affecting the FDI inflow.”
This aside, Serbia is not about to relent in its efforts to attract new investment, Filimonovic insists.
Pejcic, backing him, said: “The only feasible strategy for us is to get on the road, knock on as many doors as possible and to attempt to win FDI projects for Serbia in face-to-face communication with key investment decision-makers.”
Since 2003, the privatisation process in Serbia has been in full swing and concerns such as Telekom Srbija have been the focus of much attention, thought their sell-off has been delayed because of the economic slump affecting the world at large.
But the key sector for many in Western Europe is real estate, with British firms being the keenest.
Filimonovic said: “Companies in the UK are very much interested in the service industries in Serbia, such as real estate. Firms such as King Sturge and EC Harris have been very successful here.”
But Serbia also needs to catch up on the ground made by some of its neighbours.
Pejcic said: “Of the former Yugoslav countries, Serbia is ranked 2nd in terms of the FDI inflow over the recent years. With inward foreign direct investment of approximately €12 billion since 2001, we are trailing behind Croatia but are ahead of other countries by a wide margin.”
2,784 Administrative Employees to Receive Dismissal Notices
Draft law on determining the maximum number of employees in the state administration that envisages that the maximum number of employees to an unspecified period of time cannot be higher 28,400 entered the parliamentary procedure yesterday. The draft law, which the Government of Serbia adopted last year, will be discussed by the members of parliament at an urgent procedure in the next session due to start at the end of October.
The Blackstone Group to invest in Serbia
One of the biggest world funds, US-based Blackstone Group is ready to spend in Serbia part of a hundred billion USD available for investing. World leader in private equity investing is interested in troubled state-owned ‘Petrohemija’, ‘JAT Tehnika’, ‘RTB Bor’ but also in Delta Maxi a unit of Serbia's top retailer Delta Holding retail chain and some other parts of the Holding.
Reportedly, top management of Delta Holding had a meeting with representatives of the US investment fund and further talks are to follow. Blackstone is also interested in purchase of state-owned enterprises now conducting their business with losses. This is to be discussed about with Serbia Government in the months to come.
The investing capacity of this giant is also reflected in its purchase of the ‘Hilton Hotels’ corporation in 2007 for USD 26 billion. As a result of it Blackstone became owner of 2,800 hotels of the ‘Hilton’, ‘Doubletree’, ‘Embassy Suites’, ‘Hempton’, ‘Homewood Suites’ and ‘Waldorf-Astoria’ hotel chains.