The Croatian Wood Cluster said on Friday it was "deeply worried" that the Hrvatske Sume forest management company was being mentioned in the context of the privatisation of state-owned companies, the Cluster said on Friday.

It recalls that 48 percent of Croatian territory is covered by forests and that they and the wood resources are the basis of the wood-processing sector, which procures 95% of the raw material from Hrvatske Sume.

The sector employs over 53,000 workers and accounts for 3.6% of GDP and for 10.4% of exports, the Cluster said, adding that any speculation with forest resources was a serious economic precedent which could have disastrous repercussions for the future of wood-processing.

Any improvement in the work and operations of Hrvatske Sume is welcome, but not by creating prerequisites for privatisation or foreign investment in "this strategically significant company" or any forest concession model which would bring the timber industry in a "very unfavourable market position," the Croatian Wood Cluster said.

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