Zastava to be privatized in 2007

BELGRADE (Reuters) – Serbian automaker Zastava, the maker of the iconic Yugo car, will be put up for sale by the end of 2007, Economy Minister Mladjan Dinkic said yesterday. Dinkic told an economic round table that the tender for the Zastava factory would be announced in December 2007. He gave no further details. The plant, in the central town of Kragujevac, employs around 4,000 workers and is one of some 1,300 state companies in Serbia that are waiting to be privatized. Last year Zastava made 15,000 cars, well under its annual capacity of 60,000. It also has a deal to assemble Punto cars for Italy’s Fiat and market them in Serbia and neighboring countries under the «Zastava 10» brand. «Just a few days ago, we got permission from Fiat to sell Zastava 10 on the Russian market,» the company’s deputy general manager, Dragan Srejovic, told Reuters. «The existing deal with Fiat will help us to achieve a better price in the coming privatization,» he added. In April, the world’s largest automaker General Motors Corp said it was negotiating a deal with Zastava for the import and local production in Serbia of its Opel vehicles.

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