The tendering commission has pronounced the financial bid by P&O Ports Dubai for the purchase of the Port of Novi Sad successful, the state secretary of the Ministry of Economy, Dragan Stevanovic, said on March 22, 2019.
– They offered the initial price of EUR 7.99 million and all the details of the bid are valid and in line with the public call – Stevanovic told the press after the opening of the bid at the Ministry of Economy.
He said that the investment in the Port of Novi Sad over the next three years would probably exceed EUR 15 million, which is in line with the agreement which will be signed in the next few days, under which the investment should not be lower than EUR 14.9 million, and it is also in line with Serbia’s strategy for the development of port activities.
– Of this amount, slightly under EUR 5 million will be invested in port infrastructure, whereas around 10 will be invested in side activities – Stevanovic said.
He pointed out that the investment was important not just for Novi Sad, but for all of Serbia as well.
– The Danube is a serious strategic resource for Serbia, and thanks to this privatization, this resource will be adequately put into function – Stevanovic said.
He added that the future owner of the Novi Sad Port was a member of the DP World Group, the third biggest port operator in the world, and that this would be its first operation on the Danube, which is of great importance for Serbia.
– This is the largest container operator at the ports of Constanta, Rotterdam and Antwerp – Stevanovic said.
He announced that the agreement would be signed in the next few days, after the Commission for Protection of Competition gives its opinion.
Stevanovic also said that he expected the number of workers at the Port of Novi Sad to increase in line with the announced investments.
When asked why privatization was chosen, considering that the company is profitable, he said that the fact that it was didn’t mean that it operated as it should.
– The port is technology devastated. I remind that its annual goods reloading capacity is 2.5 million tons and that the port only manages to reload 1.2 million tons – Stevanovic said.
As he said, the port required serious investments, which it could not secure from its own funds, regardless of being profitable.
– If not for the privatization, the port would go into bankruptcy or liquidation – Stevanovic said.
At the previous tendering procedure, the initial price was twice as high, EUR 15.98 million, but no bids were sent, despite the deadlines being extended twice. Around 150 people work at the company, which has been profitable in the past four years.