Will Belarus Be Sold out?
Recently Belarus has sold an enterprise to a foreign investor without sticking to the majority stock. Experts treat this case as a possible scenario for the forthcoming Belarusian privatization.
Belarus sold Motavela enterprise to a foreign investor, the Russian ‘Nezavisimaya Gazeta’ writes. It is the Austrian ATEC Holding GmbH company that bought the manufacture. The stock (99.7%) having been the state ownership was sold at face value and cost USD 7.2 million to the buyer. Aliaksandr Lukashenka who makes personal decisions on such issues was forced to make an unprecedented step of selling the majority stock to foreigners by an extremely hard financial status of the enterprise which shabby outlook spoils the lovely view of the capital’s center. The Motavela‘s working staff which had not received wages became known in the autumn 2005 for going on strike and blocking the traffic in one of the capital’s avenues.
Not long ago the head of the Belarusian government Siarhei Sidorski declared that a third part of the Belarusian industry was unprofitable. The gas price-hike and the accumulated debts aggravate the situation. There are no local oligarchs in Belarus and if threatened by social disorders the country may be totally sold out at cheap prices.
Nevertheless, the experts do not consider the deal as the beginning of the great privatization. At least privatization of the petrochemical companies so attractive for the Russian investors is still out of question. There is another important aspect of this event .According to a well-known Belarusian economist Leanid Zaika, the Motavela case speaks of the future of the Belarusian economy in general, unless the economic policy of the country is changed in the near future.
It is to be mentioned that the works was sold to the Austrian investor by installments. The ATEC is to start payments in January 2008 and the final settlement is due on 31 January 2011. Annually the company has to transfer over USD 1.5 million. Truly speaking, the interest s is to be charged on the outstanding debt at the annual interest rate which is presently 10.5%.