A tender process for the privatisation of Serbian pharmaceutical giant Galenika will be launched within a few days, Serbia’s minister of economy, Zeljko Sertic, told daily Vecernje Novosti on March 10.
Galenika was originally listed as one of 502 public companies supposed to be privatised by the end of 2015. However, it was included on the list of 17 companies of strategic state interest whose privatisation deadline has been extended by up to one year under amendments adopted by the Serbian parliament in May 2015.
Sertic said that there are some companies interested in Galenika, who are already negotiating with its privatisation adviser.
“A transparent and public process is important to us,’ he said.
Daily Blic reported on January 30 that four global pharmaceutical giants, American Pari Biomedical, Basel-based Piqur, the UAE’s Julphar and Palestine’s Pharma Care PLC have shown an interest in a strategic partnership with Serbian pharmaceutical company.
Besides huge financial debts, Galenika struggled under allegedly corrupt management for years. Efforts to tackle this problem finally started in April 2014 when Serbian police arrested several of Galenika's former managers, accusing them of abuse of office and siphoning off money from the company. Most were members of the Socialist Party of Serbia (SPS), which has been a minority coalition partner or supporter of all Serbian governments since 2004. Both the tax authorities and the police brought charges against the former managers, alleging they caused some €75mn damage to Galenika, which benefitted local drug trader Velefarm. The process is still ongoing.
“I do believe we can sell Galenika. It has a serious market and our jobs is to help it to maintain production,” Sertic told Vecernje novosti.
Galenika once had a market share of 60% in the former Yugoslavian markets of 24mn people. Nowadays, it controls only some 10% of the Serbian market of 7.1mn people but still employees 1,400 people.
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