State-run power company "won't be privatized for now"

Zorana Mihajlović says Serbia's state-run power company EPS will by the end of the year to become a shareholder society, and "will not be privatized for now."

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"Some of the activities of EPS will be centralized and much more efficient," said Mihajlović, while addressing the Regional Investment Summit held in the town of Aranđelovac.

"The current export of power from Serbia is sporadic, and the state wants to build at least one plant and once again become an exporter, because since 2001 the region has seen a shortage of electricity," said the minister.

She added that power plants will be constructed with "varying participation of EPS" - and with "new financial models."

According to Mihajlović, one of the reasons not to privatize EPS is that Serbia can "both distribute and store electricity in the region."

Mihajlović then warned that EPS is mindful of the market liberalization "because it already lost one customer with the opening of the market for high voltage."

She noted that as of January 1, the middle voltage market will open for about 3,100 customers, while a year later, all consumers will be able to purchase electricity from a supplier according to their choice.

Managing Director of Fiat Automobili Srbije (Fiat Automobiles of Serbia) Antonio Cesare Ferrara took part in the same conference to say that, when thinking about investments, "one must take into account the price of gas, water and electricity - that those prices are stable."

Ferrara noted that he spoke with directors of other companies in Serbia "who already wish to purchase electricity from Germany" and warned EPS and Srbijagas "to bear in mind the intention of companies to, with the opening of electricity and gas markets, look for other suppliers."

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