Attempt to sell state's stake in Bosnian drug producer Bosnalijek fails on lack of bidders

By bne IntelliNews July 29, 2016

The planned sale of the state-owned stake in Bosnian & Herzegovina’s blue-chip drug producer Bosnalijek on Sarajevo Stock Exchange (SASE) failed on July 28 due to lack of bidders, SASE said in its daily trading bulletin.

In April, the government of Bosnian Muslim-Croat Federation decided to offer for sale its 19.26% stake in Bosnalijek on SASE for BAM15.5 (€7.9) per share or BAM23.4mn for the whole government stake.

Bosnalijek has been included in the entity’s privatisation lists since 2010. Back then, the Federation’s government opened a tender for the sale of the stake, but had to cancel the tender due to lack of interest.

In 2010, US pharmaceutical company Alvogen wanted to buy the stake and was also interested in acquiring stakes held by other shareholders. However, no agreement was reached as the government decided to postpone the launch of a new tender after new potential buyers from Libya, the UAE, Poland, Germany, Slovenia and Croatia reportedly appeared.

According to bourse information, Luxemburg-based firm Haden SA was the largest single shareholder in Bosnalijek with a 29.95% stake at end-June 2015. It was followed by the energy ministry of the Bosnian Federation with 19.25% and Tripoli-based Economic and Social Development Fund with 8.78%. Haden first entered Bosnalijek in September 2012 when it bought the 8.37% stake of the World Bank’s IFC.

In a letter of intent to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), leaked by Bosnian media last week, the Federation has pledged to restart the privatisation of state-owned companies, including selling state stakes in Bosnalijek and insurance company Sarajevo Osiguranje by the end of July. Two other big companies – tobacco maker Fabrika Duhana Sarajevo and aluminium maker Aluminij Mostar - should be privatised by end-March, 2017.

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