ECONOMY

Hellenic Petroleum among the bidders for Montenegro oil firm

BELGRADE – A public tender for Montenegrin crude oil importer and derivatives trader Jugopetrol Kotor has drawn strong interest from regional investors, a privatization adviser to the Yugoslav republic said yesterday. «We are very pleased with the turnout because absolutely every major regional player in the sector has shown an interest in Jugopetrol,» government adviser Blanche Sas told Reuters. She named Greece’s Hellenic Petroleum; Croatia’s INA; Slovenian Petrol; a consortium of Israel Corp, Slovenian Petrol, Russian Lukoil and Landrusinvest; and a partnership of Austrian OMV and Slovenian Istrabenz. Last month, the tiny coastal republic announced the sale of a 54.35-percent stake in Jugopetrol Kotor, which will be among the first oil firms from the former Yugoslavia to be sold to strategic partners. Jugopetrol said in a statement it would invite the firms to conduct due diligence investigations in coming weeks. «Final bid offers are due in late September and it is envisaged that the negotiations will be concluded sometime in October,» the company said. Jugopetrol Kotor’s core downstream assets are terminal facilities at the strategic ports of Bar and Lipci on the Adriatic coast and depots at the Tivat and Podgorica airports. The firm also owns 33 retail petrol stations and employs 600 people.