Montenegro invites bids for bankrupt aluminium producer
PODGORICA Dec 6 (Reuters) - The bankruptcy managers of Montenegro's sole aluminium plant invited bids on Friday for the Kombinat Aluminijuma Podgorica (KAP), despite a lawsuit announced by its previous main stakeholder.
Last year KAP accounted for 30 percent of Montenegro's exports, but its business and about 1,000 jobs were kept afloat by big state subsidies and loans that it could not repay.
In July, Montenegrin authorities launched partial bankruptcy proceedings over KAP's 24 million euro ($33 million) debt to Deutsche Bank and two months ago, a court declared bankruptcy over a 380 million euro debt.
In a statement, the bankruptcy management set the total value of assets and land offered for sale at 54.5 million euros, but said buyers could also bid for just part of what was on offer.
The deadline for submitting offers is Jan. 8 and the bids will be opened on Jan. 10.
"If multiple bidders submit equal highest offers, a well-known bidder from the mining and metallurgical sector ... (with) the best plan for KAP's ... future development, higher revenues and readiness to take over the workforce, will be favoured," the statement said.
Earlier this week, Russian billionaire Oleg Depaska's Central European Aluminum Company (CEAC) said it was suing Montenegro for 100 million euros, saying authorities had violated a 2010 settlement and so led to the plant going bankrupt, something the government denies.
Deripaska's company in 2005 bought a 58.7 percent stake in KAP. In a debt for equity deal, the Balkan country's government later took back half of that stake.
KAP's biggest creditor is the state, accounting for 148 million euros of its debt. On top of that, the government has issued guarantees for a 132 million euro loan. ($1 = 0.7323 euros) (Reporting by Petar Komnenic; Writing by Aleksandar Vasovic; Editing by Ruth Pitchford)