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Serbia to sell national auto-maker

 Serbia to sell national auto-maker
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Serbia says it is putting carmaker Zastava up for sale in April. Belgrade announced it would reveal its reserve price then. The producer of the Yugo hatchback, Zastava is one of 750 state-owned companies due to be sold by the end of 2008.

In a tender published in Politika daily, the government said car producers whose 2006 revenue reached at least 500 million euros would be eligible. Alternatively, financial investors managing assets of at least 2 billion euros could bid. Zastava employs 4,000 people, assembling Puntos for Italy’s Fiat, to sell in Balkan markets and Russia.

It also has a deal with General Motors, expecting to roll out Opel Astras next year. Belgrade hopes the Fiat and GM connections will boost appeal. Production in 2006 was a quarter of Zastava’s nominal 60,000 unit capacity, since it has been recovering after NATO’s 1999 bombing of Serbia.