Serbia launches hunt for strategic investor at mining giant RTB Bor

Serbia launches hunt for strategic investor at mining giant RTB Bor
By bne IntelliNews July 19, 2018

The Serbian Ministry of Economy has issued a public invitation for a strategic investor for copper smelting and mining complex Rudarsko Topionicarski Basen Bor (RTB Bor), business portal Ekapija reported on July 18.

RTB Bor is one of the largest burdens on Serbia’s budget since the government’s efforts to find a solution to make the company sustainable are taking longer than planned. One of the potential solutions — the one favoured by the government — is the sale of RTB Bor to a Chinese investor. RTB Bor is the main employer in eastern Serbia and its closure could sharply increase poverty in the region.

The public invitation envisages a mandatory monetary capital increase of $350mn, Ekapija reported.

Eligible companies include local or foreign firms which have exploited or produced copper and other noble metals continuously in the past 10 years, the portal added quoting the ministry. The company must have operating revenues larger than $500mn, and must also provide a banking guarantee for $1mn. The bid submission deadline is noon on August 20.

According to earlier Ekapija reports, 11 companies from Russia, China, Canada, Turkey and a Kazakh-European consortium have expressed an interest in RTB Bor so far. In the past year, they have signed confidentiality agreements and performed due diligence.

One of the companies interested is a Russian copper company with ties to businessman Milan Popovic, the portal sourced daily Politika as reporting. Among those interested are also Power China and Zijin Mining. Mehmet Cengiz, the owner of the Turkish company Cengiz Holding, announced recently that the company would take part in the tender for RTB Bor. Canada's Mundoro has also shown an interest publicly, and Minister of Economy Goran Knezevic pointed out after his visit to Kazakhstan that companies from that country were interested as well.

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