Bosnia’s Aluminij finally resolves 16-year long ownership issue

By bne IntelliNews September 10, 2013

Bosnia’s largest exporter – aluminium firm Aluminij, said its 16-year long ownership structure issue has been finally resolved, which will now enable it to seek cheap financing at international lenders to support its production.

Aluminij said on its website on Sep 10 that the securities register of Bosnia’s Federation has at last registered its shares and shareholders. This means the company’s shareholder structure is now clear – 44% belong to small shareholders, 44% to the Federation’s government and the remaining 12% to the government of neighbouring Croatia.

Following the long anticipated registration, Aluminij obtained an International Securities Identification Number (ISIN) and will now much easier seek funding from European and international financial institutions and banks, as well as launch business with major companies from the sector, Aluminij’s head Ivo Bradvica was quoted as saying in the statement.

The unresolved ownership structure was also one of the main reasons for the past unsuccessful privatisation of Aluminij by a Glencore-led consortium. The Federation’s government launched Aluminij’s sale in March 2007, ranking Glencore first but after sales talks idled for several years, the process eventually ended inconclusively.

In November 1997, Aluminij was registered at the Mostar’s court registry as a joint stock company with the following ownership structure: 64% small shareholders, 24% – the Federation’s government and 12 % foreign capital. This capital structure, however, was disputed by the Federation’s securities registry which refused to proceed with the registration of Aluminij’s shareholders as required by law. The company had launched a legal procedure against the securities registry in order to resolve the issue.

In June, Aluminij said it had been rolling monthly losses of BAM 9.7mn (EUR 5mn) since the start of 2013. The firm already recorded a EUR 33.6mn loss in 2012, well exceeding the initially targeted BAM 10mn loss. The loss was mainly due to higher electricity tariffs and falling prices on the metal market.

Searching for cheaper electricity alternatives, Aluminij invited energy firms to submit power supply bids earlier this year and as a result signed a deal in July with Slovenian energy trader GEN-I for the supply of 100 MWh of electricity in the period August 1-December 31, 2013. Aluminij said said the agreed price is lower than the one it used to pay but did not provide a figure.

Aluminij needs some 225 MWh of electricity per annum and used to buy 100 MWh from Croatian power producer Hrvatska Elektroprivreda. Yet, its contract with Hrvatska Elektroprivreda had to be amended after Croatia joined the EU on July 1, which made it no longer favourable for Aluminij.

Aluminij receives the remaining 125 MWh from Mostar-based energy producer Elekrtoprivreda HZ HB, the smallest of three power utility firms in Bosnia.

The company annually produces 130,000 tonnes of primary aluminium and raised the output by another 30,000 tonnes via additional processing and enriching the metal. It exports nearly 90% of its production under the form of anodes, billets, slabs, ingots and wire for further processing.

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