Serbia’s RTB Bor copper miner and smelter has drawn interest from 11 companies and the tender could take place this week or next, Belgrade daily Politika reported on Wednesday.
Serbia has tried and failed three times since 2007 to sell the debt-laden mining complex, which suffered a long period of neglect during the Balkan Wars and the country’s international isolation in the 1990s.
Politika quoted Energy and Mining Minister Aleksandar Antic as saying Belgrade would launch a tender to privatise the company this week or next.
Companies from China, Russia, Canada and Turkey, as well as a consortium from Kazakhstan, have expressed interest in buying RTB Bor, Politika quoted Antic as saying.
Last week, at a 16+1 summit between European and Chinese leaders in Sofia, Antic said the buyer would have to invest around $300-million in the company. He also said that Zijin Mining could be among bidders.
RTB Bor’s first-half copper exports rose 23% to 15 000 t, company data showed.
Export revenue between January and June stood at $107.1-million and it sold copper worth an additional $30.9-million domestically.
To speed up reforms and spur growth, as recommended by the International Monetary Fund, Serbia must dispose of remaining state-run companies.
Attempts to sell RTB Bor in 2007 and 2008 failed as bidders did not meet terms of those tenders.