ECONOMY

Bosnia plant offer

SARAJEVO (Reuters) – Lithuanian and Polish companies have jointly offered -141.5 million for an 88 percent stake in Bosnian aluminium plant Aluminij Mostar, one of the firms said on Monday. UKIO Bank Investment Group of Lithuania and Poland’s Aluminium Konin-Impexmetal have also pledged to invest -360.6 million in the plant over the next five years, UKIO representative Alnija Brusokiene said. «The price we have offered is only an initial price that may rise if we are short-listed,» Brusokiene told a news conference. The consortium would provide -310.6 million and the remaining -50 million would come from Mostar’s revenues. In an international tender last week, Bosnian privatization authorities put the minimum price of the stake in the country’s only aluminium plant at -76.8 million. The Muslim Croat Federation privatization agency said at the time eight companies had expressed interest in the firm, and it would short-list the best offers this week. Short-listed companies can begin due diligence on Mostar next Monday. Among firms that sent non-binding offers were Swiss-based commodities trader Glencore International AG – a longstanding partner of Aluminij – and Greek metals, energy and engineering group Mytilineos. India’s Hindalco Industries, London-listed miner Vedanta Resources, Britain’s En+ Group and a consortium of German aluminium producer Trimet and Britain’s International Mineral Resources also applied. A consortium of one Bosnian and two Croatian firms, which won Croatian aluminium processor TLM earlier this month, has also bid for Aluminij Mostar, Bosnia’s biggest exporter. UKIO could secure regular power supplies for the plant because it had negotiated an exclusive agreement with the government of Bosnia’s other region – the Serb Republic – to buy all surplus electricity for the next five years, she said. «The secured power supplies are key for Aluminij to work and those bidders who cannot guarantee regular supplies will cause more damage than benefits,» she said. UKIO is a majority owner of the Birac alumina smelter in eastern Bosnia, which Brusokiene manages. She said UKIO wanted to bring together the Bosnian supply chain from bauxite mining to aluminium smelting.