Serbia extends Galenika sale until June 14 - Finance Ministry

Thu May 30, 2013 2:19pm EDT
 
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BELGRADE May 30 (Reuters) - Serbia on Thursday extended for another two weeks a deadline for bids for its indebted, state-run drugmaker Galenika Pharmaceuticals because only one potential partner has come forward.

The U.S.-based unit of Canada's Valeant Pharmaceuticals International is the sole candidate so far.

The finance ministry said the new deadline was June 14, the fourth extension since offers were first invited on Jan. 14.

With a workforce of 2,700, the Belgrade-based Galenika has accumulated debt of about 170 million euros ($223 million) and needs about 50 million euros in additional capital in 2013.

Earlier this month, Serbian police arrested a group of eight former Galenika managers after prosecutors charged them with abuse of office and embezzling 12 million euros in 2008 and 2009.

The sale of Galenika is part of an effort by the government to sell a number of bloated, loss-making state enterprises to ease the burden on its budget, which the government puts at 4.5 percent of gross domestic product this year.

Earlier in April, the finance ministry said the U.S.-based unit of Valeant was the only potential partner so far, having met all the conditions of the tender.