New privatisation deadline or simply buying time
The Serbian Parliament has passed a Law on Amendments to the Privatization Law, relating to creditors’ claims against companies in restructuring. This issue has been the focus of attention of business circles for a number of years now, since its resolution will have a great impact on the business climate to be established in Serbia in the years to come.
After the political changes of 2000, a Privatization Law was enacted, intended to provide a legal framework for unhindered transition in the field of commerce and inflow of foreign investments, by laying down the terms and methods for changing ownership over socially and state-owned capital. The planned privatisation models were sale of capital (by public auction or public bidding) and transfer of capital free of charge (to employees or citizens), while initiating and carrying out privatisation was entrusted to a state body — the Privatization Agency.
The law established a separate category of so-called companies in restructuring, comprising socially/state-owned companies, the privatisation of which was to be preceded by organisational changes and changes of status, as a prerequisite for their transfer into private property. Although this concept of companies in restructuring was designed as but a transitional stage in the privatisation process, a number of companies have retained this status for more than a decade now since the passing of the law. There being no strategic solution for the 162 companies currently in the restructuring stage has necessitated frequent amendments of the legal framework, which achieved the sole effect of temporarily securing social peace, while the creditors of these companies have been prevented from collecting their claims…
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