Source: Blic | Friday, 26.02.2010.| 12:15
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Serbian billionaire to buy Jat Airways - Government negotiates on strategic partnership

- A billionaire from Serbia has recently offered the Government of Serbia strategic partnership for takeover of national air transportation company Jat Airways - newspaper Blic finds out. According to the source from the Government, the agreement may be reached within next few days, and if the state accepts the offer of that rich Serb, the new company with somewhat different name will be put in operation already in March 2011.

The potential buyer wants to take over 51% of the ownership of Jat, while remaining 49% would be kept by the state. If the agreement is signed, the new company will be formed under the name of Jat Airlines, to which the Government of Serbia would transfer 23.5m EUR worth of contract with Airbus. Also, the state would invest the existing property in the partnership, while the money for the recovery of Jat would be provided exclusively by the majority partner.

- The future buyer would keep only one airplane from the existing fleet, while ten new planes would be bought on lease. The rich entrepreneur would take over the appropriate number of employees, but he would keep only the real experts - Blic's source claims and adds that the potential partner guarantees profit already in 2011.

Jat Airways currently has 15 airplanes whose average age is 20 years, and only 10 of them are flying. If these, so far the most serious negotiations on sale of the national airliner, which registered 15m EUR worth of losses in 2009, end in signing of the contract, it is estimated that Jat Airways may start transporting passengers again already in March 2011. If, by any chance, new planes are not procured by then, the commencement of work of the joint venture will be postponed until new aircrafts reach the airport in Belgrade.

The source of Blic, however, did not want to reveal the identicy of the potential partner of the state, but he said that he was "a serious entrepreneur who is not compromised". As the source reveals, he suddenly appeared in the Government of Serbia and proposed to invest in three projects, the most interesting of which was the investment in Jat.

- It is the man who has a lot of money, but he is not what is now considered in Serbia under tycoon. So far, his name has rarely appeared in the media, but never in negative context. By the way, he made his big fortune in Serbia - claims the source of Blic.

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