Serbia seeks proposals for Airline Privatisation

Date: 02-08-2007
Source: Reuters

Serbia's state privatisation agency will invite 24 companies to draft proposals for the sale of flag carrier JAT, it said in a statement on Thursday. The winner will be selected within 70 days.

Those invited include Rothschild [ROT.UL], Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan, BNP Paribas, Citigroup, Morgan Stanley, UBS, HSBC, Merrill Lynch and Deutsche Bank. The list also included PricewaterhouseCoopers [PWC.UL], Deloitte [DLTE.UL], Lehman Brothers, Ernst & Young [ERNY.UL], Societe Generale, Dresdner Kleinwort, KPMG [KPMG.UL], Macquarie Bank, M&A International Inc, ING, Credit Suisse, Caylon and Lazard .

"The designing of the privatisation strategy is one of the most significant steps in the privatisation process because it defines the future of the company that is being privatised," the statement said. JAT's assets -- a 20-year-old fleet mainly of Boeing 737 planes, plus real estate -- are estimated to be worth $150 million. It employs around 1,700 people and has 208 million euros of debt.

Serbia says Russia's Aeroflot is among several airlines interested in buying JAT. But Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica told a visiting Aeroflot executive this week the firm would have to compete on equal terms with other bidders.