Minister rules out privatisation of motorways for time being

Maritime Affairs, Transportation and Infrastructure Minister Oleg Butkovic on Friday announced that a draft study on operational restructuring of Hrvatske Autoceste (HAC), the state-run motorway operator, would be completed by the end of June and underscored that the operator would not be privatised for the time being.

By the end of June, a draft study of the operating restructuring will be completed which comprehends the possibility of introducing a new, contact-less payment system, a maintenance system and everything else that is needed to streamline HAC so that things take a turn for the better, Butkovic told reporters.

We have launched talks with the World Bank and these are well underway and by the end of the year they have to be completed so that we can re-schedule existing unfavourable loans of around 1.8 billion euro and ensure a more favourable arrangement with the World Bank, Butkovic said, adding that "at the moment there was absolutely no talk of privatisation."

As far as a loan of 250 million euro with the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) is concerned, Butkovic said that that loan was agreed to by the previous government however, it was not realised.

"Seeing that we've had no time to renegotiate it, this government has adopted the same decision so that we can absorb 200 million euro. There is no consultant involved, nor are we concerning ourselves with privatisation," Butkovic said, commenting on the fact that the loan with the EBRD included the costs of consultants for the possible privatisation of the motorways.

He added that the decision for the 250 million euro loan, of which 200 million euro would be earmarked to re-schedule current dues and 50 million euro would be invested in restructuring HAC, had been put forward to parliament.

"We consider it important to financially and operationally restructure HAC and we will do so," he said.

The minister also ruled out the privatisation of the CI marina operator.

Last update: Fri, 20/05/2016 - 16:49

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