October 6, 2016 / 1:31 PM / in a year

Bosnia region sells stake in drugmaker Bosnalijek for $13.4 mln

SARAJEVO, Oct 6 (Reuters) - Bosnia’s autonomous Bosniak-Croat Federation sold its 19.2 percent stake in generic drugmaker Bosnalijek on Thursday for a higher than expected 23.4 million Bosnian marka ($13.4 million) after several previous attempts to sell failed.

The stake was bought by a single buyer, although the Sarajevo Stock Exchange (SASE), which organised the auction, could not say who the winning bidder was.

A broker said there were two bidders for the stake.

The sale of the Bosnalijek stake is part of a government privatisation plan for 2016 aimed at raising funds to plug a budget deficit.

The Federation government cut the price of Bosnalijek shares to 14.74 marka per share from 15.51 marka in July, when its offer failed to attract bids.

But due to the strong demand on Thursday, it sold the shares at the original price of 15.51 marka, a SASE spokeswoman told Reuters, adding that the total raised was 23.4 million marka.

A Luxembourg-based company, Haden S.A., is the biggest shareholder in Bosnalijek, owning nearly 30 percent of shares. The rest are held by investment funds and small shareholders.

Bosnalijek shares traded at 11.84 marka on Thursday, up 1.76 percent from Wednesday’s close. The company has a market capitalisation of 91.4 million marka.

The Federation government first tried to sell its stake in Bosnalijek in 2010 but failed to find a buyer.

The government has said it also plans to sell its stakes in aluminium smelter Aluminij Mostar and engineering firm Energoinvest this year.

It will try again to sell its stake in insurer Sarajevo Osiguranje after lowering the price to 10.39 marka per share from 12.99 marka at the last auction in June.

Last month, the government sold its 39.9 percent stake in Bosnian holding firm Fabrika Duhana Sarajevo to British American Tobacco via the CID Adriatic Investments fund for 42.7 million Bosnian marka. ($1 = 1.744 Bosnian marka) (Reporting by Maja Zuvela; Editing by Daria Sito-Sucic and Adrian Croft)

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