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CRAL-R-A - Croatia Airlines Dd News Story

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Croatia moves to sell stakes in "strategic" companies to reduce debt

Wed 11th May, 2016 2:46pm
ZAGREB, May 11 (Reuters) - The Croatian government decided 
on Wednesday to remove eight firms from the list of those having 
strategic interest with a goal to make them eligible for 
possible sale which, if implemented, would help reduce high 
public debt. 
    It said that for the sale of stakes in those companies it 
was first necessary to adopt certain legal changes which are 
expected to take place soon. 
    The companies involved include national flag carrier Croatia 
Airlines  HRAR.ZA , operator of sea marinas ACI  ACIR.ZA , the 
port of the northern Adriatic city of Rijeka  LUKA.ZA , a small 
local bank Croatia Banka and fertilizer producer Petrokemija 
    Also, it includes insurer company Croatia Osiguranje 
 CROS.ZA , a major food company Podravka  PODR.ZA  and 
electrical concern Koncar  KONL.ZA . 
    The government has various level of stakes in those 
companies and has yet to make separate decisions on when, how 
and what stake to sell. 
    Croatia, one of the weakest European Union economies, has a 
public debt of 87 percent of gross domestic product and the 
centre-right government, which took office in January, vowed to 
reduce it to below 80 percent before the end of its four-year 
    This year the government plans to cut the budget gap to 2.6 
percent of GDP from 3.2 percent last year and to reduce public 
debt by one percentage point. 
    Brussels pressures Croatia to pursue decisive fiscal 
consolidation and reformist measures to improve the investment 
climate and boost growth. 
    Three leading rating agencies keep Croatia two notches below 
the investment level, with a negative outlook, and the 
government hopes its efforts to reduce debt could improve 
Croatia's outlook to stable already this year. 
    The government said it planned to reduce the debt by up to 
200 million euros ($228.24 million) through sale of stakes in 
the companies in the next few months. 
($1 = 0.8763 euros) 
 (Reporting by Igor Ilic) 
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