IKEA mulling Bosnian venture

SARAJEVO – Sweden’s IKEA, the world’s largest furniture retailer, is interested in forming a joint venture with Bosnia’s indebted state-owned furniture maker Krivaja, a Bosnian privatization official said yesterday. Enes Ganic, who heads Bosnia’s Muslim Croat federation privatization agency, said IKEA representatives were willing to invest significantly in a new production facility in Krivaja, in the central Bosnian town of Zavidovici. «The IKEA proposal is very attractive. They are willing to invest into a new plant, improve the existing facilities, keep all employees and secure the market for the products,» Ganic told Reuters by telephone. He said IKEA, which made its name offering flat-pack design furniture at affordable prices, will send a letter of intent in a week with a detailed description of the plan. Six international and local bidders applied in December in a tender for the privatization of eight units of Krivaja but none of them was interested in acquiring the entire company,» he said. »The IKEA proposal is much more favorable and we will inform all bidders that the privatization procedure will be temporarily halted until we receive IKEA’s letter of intent,» he said. Ganic said privatization officials and Krivaja’s management would then decide whether to call a new tender. «IKEA will not have a preferential status. We will accept the best offer,» he added.