Nine-month profit posted by Serb carrier

BELGRADE (Reuters) – State-owned Serb flag carrier JAT, soon to be put up for sale, posted a profit of -2.4 million ($3.46 million) in the first nine months of 2007, the firm said. «This is the second time in 17 years that the company posts a profit,» JAT said in a statement. The government is hoping to sell the firm by year-end, or in the first months of 2008. It was the first major state firm to downsize and spin off its non-core business in 2005, posting a net profit of $5 million the following year. It employs around 1,700 people and has debt of about -208 million. Its assets – its 20-year-old fleet of 16 planes, plus real estate – are estimated to be worth $150 million. The airline enjoys loyalty among Serbia’s 7.5 million people and its large expatriate community.