Kosovo: Serbian Government – has primary interest in privatizing "Trepça"

Prishtinë, May 04, 2006 – The “Trepça” Strategy of Restructuring and Liquidation, compiled by KTA on 29th March 2006 and submitted to KTA Board in the April Meeting, presents the Government of Serbia and Montenegro as a priority stakeholder, reported Zeri.

The document deals with primary “Trepça” stakeholders, the definition of enterprise’s assets, “Trepça” properties in Serbia and Montenegro, privatization preparations, recommendations for restructuring, creditors, nomination of the new administrator, etc.

“Trepça is quite important for Albanian and Serbian communities and its primary stakeholders are creditors and owners, management and workers, the Kosovo Government, the Government of Serbia and Montenegro and donors,” says the Strategy.

The strategy clearly states that restructuring and liquidating “Trepça” enterprises and assets out of Kosovo depends on the cooperation between Kosovo and SMN Governments. Concerning “Trepça” assets in North Kosovo, it can surely be achieved through KTA regulations, consultations with governments and donors.

At least one mine in Serbia and Montenegro belonged to “Trepça” in the past. Assets out of Kosovo include offices in Belgrade, properties in Nis, villas in Cajn (Montenegro), other villas in Montenegro, Bosnia, Croatia, Serbia and Kosovo. Other assets, unidentified so far, may also be evident.

According to KTA, due to new investors who need to undertake a detailed analysis, mine sale is a complex issue and cannot be done swiftly. The document believes that for the majority of Kosovars, the dismissal of “Trepça” employees is shocking and might lead to social tensions. “Possible problems would discredit the process. Thus, a special spin-off, including employment criteria, is recommended,

Meanwhile, KTA has the nomination of an international administrator for “Trepça”. According to the strategy, the Administrator will validate, or refuse “Trepça” claims and define a list of creditors.

Regarding the 20% share allocation of employee income, KTA foresees two forms of allocation: 20% from the sale of all “Trepça” assets could be equally distributed among the employees or the income of each enterprise to be distributed to registered employees of that enterprise.

The Action Plan has also been presented. According to KTA, an information package must be prepared for the governments of Serbia and Kosovo and meetings for solving these issues are being offered.

Minister of Energy and Mining, Ethem Çeku, said that MEM is focusing on the appointment of the new administrator. “Due to several issues being unclear, we will see what the budget for him will be, who will pay him, etc.,” stated Çeku.

“Money laundry took place rather than investment in Trepça mines,” stated Çeku regarding the period of Serb repressive government. Çeku pointed out that the SRSG has frozen creditors’ claims. “Unfortunately, we do not have any evidence or documentation regarding their investment. Thus, we cannot accept their claims”, concluded Çeku.