Serbian infrastructure minister Zorana Mihajlovic has said the unbundling of national railway operator Zeleznice Srbije into four smaller companies will allow for the privatisation of assets worth 16 billion dinars ($136 million/129.1 million euro).
The four companies had repaid all their debt to power distribution company Elektroprivreda Srbije (EPS) two months ago, Mihajlovic said during a meeting with the head of the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) mission to Belgrade James Roaf, according to a statement issued by the government on Tuesday.
A total of 3,200 employees left the four companies – rolling stock maintetance firm Srbija Voz, Srbija Cargo, Infrastruktura Zeleznice Srbije and railway operator Zeleznice Srbije – last year, in line with the target agreed under the stand-by agreement (SBA) with the IMF, Mihajlovic said.
The IMF has expressed satisfaction with the reforms carried out in Serbia’s railway sector, she added.
In December, the executive board of the IMF said it had successfully completed the sixth review of Serbia’s economic performance under the SBA and made available the cumulative amount of 850.8 million euro to Serbia.
The meeting of Mihajlovic with Roaf was attended by representatives of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and the World Bank.
In February, the Serbian government said it sold its 90.64% stake in railway construction and maintenance firm ZGOP to sector player Zhol Zhondeushi of Kazakhstan for 3.633 million euro. The government also put up for sale the factory of insolvent rolling stock repairer and manufacturer Zelvoz in Smederevo.
In February 2015, the IMF approved a 36-month, 1.2 billion euro SBA that aims to help Serbia restore public finances’ health, increase the stability and resilience of the financial sector and implement comprehensive structural reforms.