ECONOMY

Bosnian aluminium

SARAJEVO – Bosnia’s sole aluminium smelter Aluminij Mostar signed yesterday a $150 million (-115 million) metal supply deal for 2007 with Croatia’s TLM metal processor, the company said in a statement. Under the deal, the smelter will deliver 51,000 tons of slabs and billets that will meet 85 percent of TLM’s demand, it said. Aluminij Mostar has delivered some 241,000 tons of aluminium worth $457 million to TLM, which owns 12 percent of Aluminij, since 1996, it said, quoting TLM Management Board President Ivan Kostan. The deal, which was signed under favorable commercial conditions, will secure production continuity and help create conditions for the privatization of TLM, it said. The two firms also announced that a five-year agreement that set the ground for the supply to TLM of up to 60,000 tons of metal annually would also be signed. The annual value of the deal would be $180 million. The government of Bosnia’s Muslim-Croat federation on Wednesday reversed a decision by Energy Minister Vahid Heco to halt the privatization of Aluminij Mostar. Heco last month annulled the privatization agency’s decision to send bid invitations for a 88 percent stake in Aluminij to firms regarded as possible strategic partners because the firm’s value – put at 150.3 million Bosnian marka (-78.8 million) – was set too low. The privatization bid invitations went to leading producers such as Alcoa, Alcan Inc and RUSAL, and also to Aluminij’s long-time partners Norway’s Norsk Hydro and Swiss-based metals trader Glencore International AG. Aluminij is a leading Bosnian exporter. Last week it reported record annual production of 121,000 tons of metal in 2006 and exports worth some -240 million.