Thursday, October 27, 2005

Kosovo Puts 15 Companies Up For Privatization

PRISTINA (AP)--Kosovo's largest cigarette producer, a construction company, restaurants and a hotel were among 15 firms put up for sale Thursday in hopes of boosting the economy in the disputed province.

The Kosovo Trust Agency launched the 10th round of privatization in an effort to sell the companies, which were once owned by their workers and managers under a system set up during communist-era Yugoslavia. The privatization agency is hoping 22 new companies will be created when the sales are complete.

The agency advertised the companies put up for sale on its Web site.

Privatization is among the most sensitive issues in Kosovo, which was placed under U.N. administration in 1999 following NATO air strikes that ended a Serb crackdown on independence-seeking ethnic Albanians.

The process of privatization in Kosovo is complex in part because it is unclear whether Kosovo will become independent or remain part of Serbia- Montenegro, the successor state of Yugoslavia. Serbia's authorities have fiercely opposed the privatizations.

The Kosovo Trust Agency, the U.N. entity responsible for privatizing the enterprises and putting them on solid legal footing, wants private entrepreneurs to assume the risk of modernizing the industries.

The companies are considered inefficient and dilapidated after years of neglect.


Anonymous said...


Associated Press Writer

October 26, 2005, 8:58 AM EDT

SKORENOVAC, Serbia-Montenegro -- Col. Zoltan Dani was behind one of the most spectacular losses ever suffered by the U.S. Air Force: the 1999 shooting down of an F-117A stealth fighter.

Now, for the first time since that night six years ago, the former Serbian commander of an anti-aircraft missile battery has consented to speak publicly to Western media about the circumstances surrounding the unprecedented downing of a U.S. stealth plane

The hit on the radar-evading plane on March 27, 1999, during the 78-day NATO campaign over Serbia, triggered doubts not only about the F-117s, but also about the entire concept of stealth technology on which the U.S. Air Force has based its newest generation of warplanes.

Military analysts debated how the planes would fare in a war against a militarily sophisticated opponent if an obsolescent air defense such as Serbia's could manage to track and destroy them.

In an interview this week with The Associated Press, Dani said the F-117 was detected and shot down during a moonless night -- just three days into the war -- by a Soviet-made SA-3 Goa surface-to-air missile.

"We used a little innovation to update our 1960s-vintage SAMs to detect the Nighthawk," Dani said. He declined to discuss specifics, saying the exact nature of the modification to the warhead's guidance system remains a military secret.

It involved "electromagnetic waves," was all that Dani -- who now owns a small bakery in this sleepy village just north of Belgrade -- would divulge.

The F-117 was developed in great secrecy in the 1970s. It entered service in 1983 but was not revealed officially until 1988. It saw its first combat in the 1989 invasion of Panama and was a star of the 1991 Gulf War.

"Long before the 1999 war, I took keen interest in the stealth fighter and on how it could be detected," said Dani, who has been hailed in Serbia as a war hero. "And I concluded that there are no invisible aircraft, but only less visible."

The F-117 was one of only two allied aircraft shot down in the war. The other was an F-16 fighter, which the U.S. Air Force said was also hit by an SA-3. Both pilots bailed out and were rescued by NATO helicopters.

Dani said his anti-aircraft missile regiment, tasked with the anti-aircraft defense of the Serbian capital, Belgrade, downed the F-16.

Several other NATO warplanes were damaged by missile hits but managed to struggle back to bases in neighboring Bosnia, Macedonia or Croatia. At least one is said to have ditched into the Adriatic Sea as it attempted to regain its base in Italy.

Despite NATO's near-total air supremacy, the alliance never succeeded in knocking out Dani's batteries.

The Serb SAMs remained a potent threat throughout the conflict, forcing attacking warplanes to altitudes above 15,000 feet, where they were safe from surface-to-air missiles but far less effective in a ground attack role.

NATO won the war in June 1999, after President Slobodan Milosevic decided to withdraw his largely intact army from Kosovo, following the destruction of numerous government buildings, bridges and other infrastructure targets throughout Serbia.

"The Americans entered the war a bit overconfident," Dani said. "They thought they could crush us without real resistance."

"At times, they acted like amateurs," Dani said, listing some ways the Serbs managed to breach NATO communications security, including eavesdropping on pilots' conversations with AWACS surveillance planes.

"I personally listened to their pilots' conversations, learning about their routes and bombing plans," Dani said.

Dani said that his unit has had annual reunions on every March 27 since 1999 when a cake in the shape of the F-117 is served.,0,849057.story?coll=sns-ap-world-headlines

Anonymous said...

Serbia doesn't even have 15 companies left ;)

Anonymous said...


Serbia expects $2 billion in 2005 foreign investment

Associated Press

October 8, 2005 -- Foreign investors have pumped $725 million into Serbian economy in the first six months of 2005 and if the trend persists, say experts, Serbia will easily top $1.5 billion in foreign investment for the year.

A rosier picture, however, is presented by the Serbian Minister of Finance Mladjan Dinkic.

According to Dinkic, foreign investment should reach $2 billion by the end of the year. Robust foreign investment funds inflow has offset Serbia's growing imports that drain foreign reserves, says the Minister. As a result of the increase of net inflows of foreign currency, Serbian central bank, NBS, says that the banking system has $5.2 billion versus $360 million held before.

Serbian Finance Minister Mladjan Dinkic
Dinkic: "Serbia is a hit among investors in Washington"

Banking dominated the investment transfers into Serbia marked by entrance of big European banks into Serbian banking market.

Some economists see the investment trend that favors financial sector at the expense of investments into industry as an unsustainable, and perhaps a threatening one.

"Closed market, weak competition and persistence of monopoly are the reasons that bring foreign investors to Serbia," says Miroslav Prokopijevic, president of the Free Markets Center.

To be competitive, Prokopijevic says that Serbia has to slash taxes and number of taxable items and then reduce tariffs that are twice the size the average in the EU. Making the national currency, the dinar, competitive versus the Euro, says Prokopijevic, would prevent the Serbian central Bank from printing money. He did not specify whether dinar should be floated or remain pegged as is right now.

Serbian inflation is expected to reach 14% in 2005. In an attempt to stem the inflationary tides, Serbian NBS Governor last week raised the required reserves on banks from 7 to 18% with an announcement that by the end of the year the reserve requirement will be raised to 29%.

Increasing the reserve requirement forces banks to keep more of deposited money into vaults as oppose to lending it to the public and thus increasing inflation. Absence of capital markets in Serbia makes the reserve requirement the only credible instrument of monetary control.

Privatization has been the dominant driver behing the inflow of foreign funds into Serbia.

Privatization has thus far brought about 20 technological and industrial multinationals into Serbia. US Steel and Microsoft are one of the most noticeable ones. Foreign capital is present in 103 of the formerly state owned firms in Serbia.

Critics point that more reform is necessary in order to make foreign investment inflow sustainable because once state owned properties are sold off they question whether current legal and institutional framework is optimal to sustain investment growth.

To make the robust upward trend in the foreign investment sustainable in Serbia, argue critics, business friendly reforms must be instituted fast. Reform of the pension, insurance and investment fund laws is often cited as one such urgent reform matter. New rules for investment funds would stimulate capital formation by making the capital markets more efficient and secure to pool the investment capital domestically.

"It is important to assure passage of all the laws and that, within the judicial system of Serbia, institutions function properly," says Daniel Sukovic, director of the Center for Economic Research.

"Reducing corruption is paramount because those who have the capital despise corruption and don't invest," says Sukovic.

Like many of the formerly communist states of the Balkans, Serbia is also plagued by corruption.

In Albania, where corruption has reached acute levels, recent elections show that a mere promise to tackle corruption can be politically victorious and sufficient enough to attract Brussels to sign an EU association agreement.

In Serbia, however, fight against corruption has a grass roots component. Recently, for example, Verica Barac, president of the Council for fight against corruption, has been vocal in exposing the potentially massive fraud surrounding the savings bank, Nacionalna Stedionica.

"Foundation of 'Nacionalna Stedionica' was a deceit because it was foundation of a private bank that got from the State of Serbia free of charge premises and salaries for 750 employees during a period of one year. The State also gave to this private bank an exclusive right of payment of the old hard currency savings." charges Barac.

Nacionalna Stedionica was formed during the rule of Slobodan Milosevic and it is alleged that the bank was one among the privileged ones in the Milosevic regime through which the regime controlled the Serbian currency black market in order to raise hard currency and enrich themselves by dumping freshly printed Dinar on the streets where thugs bought off hard currency with it triggering massive hyperinflation in the country. Nacionalna Stedionica was sold off to a Greek bank, but other unresolved allegations may drag this deal into courts.

Serbian Justice Minister Zoran Stojkovic says that he is ready to confront corruption and cited recent arrests of a Serbian Supreme Court judge and the deputy of the Special Prosecutor as examples of that readiness. Minister Stojkovic argues that these arrests will increase confidence in Serbian legal institutions.

World Bank also says that Serbia is on course to fulfill majority of Millennium goals of development but none of those goals are corruption. World Bank says that by 2015 Serbia will decrease poverty, death rate at deliveries and improve education and AIDS prevention.

Serbia is indeed on the road to reduction of poverty. Five years ago, when the Milosevic regime was finally toppled, GDP per capita was $829 and inflation was 120%. Now, per capita GDP is $3,000.

To many Serbs, however, these improvements are not enough and many view the decade of 1990s as the wasted one.

"People do no compare these [recent] achievements with where they were 5 years ago but where they were 15 years ago," recently acknowledged Serbian Deputy Premier Miroljub Labus, whose political party also controls the Ministry of Finance and is responsible for many of the economic reforms in Serbia.

Sustaining the success in economic reforms in Serbia also depends on the outcome of the status talks on the Serbian Province of Kosovo that is currently administered by the UN. Kosovo Albanians that comprise a majority in that province demand independence and have said that if they don't get it they will use violence against the UN and the remaining Serbs that they have not expelled yet.

The ultimate decision on the status of that province, however, rests with the Contact Group comprised of US, Russia, France, Italy and UK.

Kosovo is still largely a lawless land and granting independence to that province may unravel 5 years of reforms in Serbia. Decision on Kosovo is expected in 2006.

October 8, 2005 12:56 PM (04:56 GMT)

Anonymous said...

hahahah assholes u have 15 companies that the serbs built for you and noe u are selling them!!!! waht a bunch of lowlives!!!!!!!!!

Serbia: Porsche Invests €8.5 mln in Sales Center Construction

13:34 - 20 October 2005 - The retail branch of Porsche in Serbia-Montenegro started the construction of a sales and service centre in Belgrade, investing a total of €8.5 million.

Serbian Minister of Economy Predrag Bubalo said on the occasion of inaugurating the project, that investment by Porsche in its Belgrade showroom is a positive move in order to attract other foreign investors.

He added that he expects direct foreign investment in Serbia to reach a total of $2bn this year.

Serbian Minister of Capital Investment Velimir Ilic said that the government works on simplifying the procedure for obtaining permits in order to provide foreign investors with a faster and easier investment process.

He said that he was confident domestic constructors will finish the project on the Porsche sales centre efficiently and on time and attract other similar jobs.

General Director of Porsche in Belgrade Max Vitefeld said that the retail showroom for the sale of cars from manufacturers Audi, Seat, and Porsche will cover an area of 8,000 square metres and is expected to be finished by July 2006.

He said that the centre will create 70 jobs, adding that in the spring of next year Porsche will begin building two more such showrooms in Belgrade worth €10 million and plans to employ 200 more workers.

The Porsche showroom in Cukaricka Padina will be built by the Serbian construction company “Gemaks.”

Anonymous said...

Happy that Serbia is getting a Sales center, it will help you prosper. Now you please be happy about us too since if you're not aware, Kosova is about to become an indepedent state, prosper and work hard to make our Europe stronger.

What do you want? Peace or spreading hate (choose one).

Btw, Serbia did not built those factories, Yugoslavia did, and with Kosovar resoruces (which were used to build many things in Serbia proper). Slovenians and Croats gave their expertise, Serbs their management, Albanians and Bosniacs their workforce and resources, and Macedonians their great roads, and this was Yugoslavia, not Serbia...wake up little one ;)

Anonymous said...

oh wait a minute so now its a "yugoslav" cooperative "all of us built this nation and companies together" appraoch, WOW, so everyone worked hand in hand when it comes to albanians stealing companies that they did not build, YET strangly enough when these SAME ALBANIANS would speak about yugoslavia in general then it was a "serb dominated terror dictatorship, serb controlled, etc etc" bullshit!!!!!????? U ARE FILLED WITH ONLY TWISTED ALBANIAN PROPAGANDA THAT U CAN SPEW TO SOMEONE WHO KNOWS NOTHING ABOUT THE REGION!! UR ENTIRE NATION IS A WALKING CONTRADICTION! so which one do u support now was yugo a shared experiment when it only suits your cause or was it serb controlled when it suits???? let me guess BOTH! AHAHAHAHAHAHA CAUSE U LIE WHEN U OPEN UR MOUTHS!