Serbia’s RTB Bor is seeking a new management team to prepare the state-run copper mine and smelter for privatisation and repay up to one-billion euros of debt.
As part of a 1.2-billion-euro loan deal agreed with the International Monetary Fund in 2015, Belgrade must dispose of its remaining and mainly loss-making state-owned companies.
Last month, Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic made a plea for Hesteel, China’s biggest steelmaker, to buy the copper miner, which employs about 5 000 people, or more than one in ten people in the Bor municipality in eastern Serbia.
A restructuring plan submitted by Serbia’s only copper mine envisages writing off 90% of its debt, mainly to state electricity and transport companies, and a one-year grace period before starting to pay back the rest.
The plan also envisages cutting 1 500 jobs over five years, starting from 2017.
An advertisement published in the Politika daily stipulated that the new RTB Bor leadership of ten people must offer a plan for the company’s development, improvement of production and sales and implementation of a restructuring plan.
The approach is similar to the one the government took regarding steelmaker Zelezara Smederevo, where professional management was introduced last year to prepare a sale to Hesteel.
“The level of detail and the quality of the proposed business plan is an important criterion,” said the advertisement in English. The deadline for applications is April 28.
Serbia’s state companies have traditionally been run by party officials and been heavily subsidised.