ECONOMY

Serbia oil, tobacco firms to go

BELGRADE (Reuters) – Serbia said yesterday it would launch international tenders for the sale of its two tobacco plants and its second largest fuel chain Beopetrol by mid-April and hoped to cash in the receipts during the summer. «Tobacco plants in Nis and Vranje will be offered for sale in the first week of April. Beopetrol will follow by mid-month,» said Privatization Agency Managing Director Mirko Cvetkovic. The state will be selling majority stakes in Duvanska Industrija Nis (DIN) and Duvanska Industrija Vranje (DIV). British American Tobacco, Philip Morris, Japan Tobacco International and Imperial Tobacco Group have all expressed interest. Beopetrol remains attractive to Austria’s OMV, Slovenia’s Petrol, Greece’s Hellenic Petroleum and Russia’s Lukoil, Cupic said. The government plans to sell nearly 98 percent of the company, which has a network of some 200 filling stations across Serbia and supplies around 20 percent of the local market.