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Serbia seeks investors for JAT airline

Serbia’s government Tuesday sought buyers for its ailing JAT airline, saddled debt and aging planes.

JAT’s debt totaled €247 million ($388 million) and its assets €162 million at the end of 2007, the Serbian privatization agency said in its notice in the Politika daily, which called for tenders within two days. Serbia is lowering its price for JAT from a hoped-for €150 million for a 51% stake, Economy Minister Mladjan Dinkic said last week. The state may sell up to 75% of the airline if the offer is right, he said.

Serb media have cited Russia’s Aeroflot, Icelandair and Air India as possible buyers for the 81-year-old airline, which has nine Boeing 737s and three ATR turboprops. JAT was hit hard by UN sanctions during the 1990s for Belgrade’s role in the bloody breakup of Yugoslavia. The sanctions grounded most of the airline’s flights. (m&