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Croatia tries to sell steel tube maker for $0.18 in 3rd attempt

Croatia is making a third attempt to sell unprofitable steel tube maker Valjaonica Cijevi Sisak d.o.o., this time for one kuna ($0.18) excluding debt, after receiving no satisfactory bids in the first two tenders.

The company's total liabilities amounted to 217.3 million kuna and its total assets to 446.6 million kuna on November 20, 2006, the state asset sales agency said in an e-mailed statement today. The government tried to sell 100% of the company, which produces metal and steel tubes and recycles metal scraps, in September for 405 million kuna and in November for 101.3 million.

Croatia, which declared independence from Yugoslavia in 1991, started entry talks with the European Union in October and aims to join by the end of the decade. It was urged by the International Monetary Fund to speed up its asset sales. The country on January 24 called for bids for unprofitable dairy Kim Mljekara d.d. Karlovac, winemaker Imota d.d. Imotski and aluminum maker Tvornica Lakih Maala d.d. Sibenik. It will also this year list 20% of phone company Hrvatski Telekom d.d. on the Zagreb and one foreign stock exchange. Croatia wants the buyer of Valjaonica to continue manufacturing metal and related products, submit a five-year business plan including an investment plan and service the company's debt in full, the Zagreb-based agency said. The deadline for bids is February 16. (Bloomberg)