Croatia to buy Finnish armoured vehicles -report

ZAGREB, July 24 (Reuters) - Finnish defence firm Patria is set to win a tender for sale of 126 armoured personnel carriers to the Croatian army, media reported on Tuesday.

A defence ministry commission is due to propose to the government later this week its choice for the winner of the tender between Patria and Austria’s Steyr.

“Finland’s Patria is almost a certain winner of the tender as their offer is some 60 million euros cheaper than the one from Steyr,” Jutarnji List daily said.

According to the daily, Patria offered a price of some 150 million euros ($207.3 million), while Steyr’s offer is worth 210 million euros.

The ministry, when it invited the bids last February, estimated the value of the order at some 200 million euros.

A ministry spokesman said he could not confirm the report. “The commission will meet early next week. We have recently tested both vehicles,” he said.

Patria is 73-percent owned by the Finnish state, while 27 percent belongs to European aerospace and defence group EADS EAD.PA. Steyr is a unit of the U.S. company General Dynamics Corp. GD.N.

The former Yugoslav republic tentatively plans to spend some 14 billion kuna ($2.65 billion) on new military equipment in the next eight years, including planes, ships and armoured vehicles.