Croatia: Gov't to privatize biggest public insurance co.

Croatia Osiguranje has 1/3 national market share

(ANSAMed) - ZAGREB, JULY 13 - The center-left Croatian government plans to privatize Croatia Osiguranje (CO), the country's biggest insurance company with one third of national market share, local press made known today. The state, which owns 82% of CO shares, is putting 50% of these on the block at an estimated value of 270 million euros, but plans to maintain a 25% control in order to have a say in strategic company decisions. ''We took this decision because new capitals will enable CO will to reinforce its market share, especially in the life insurance sector, and also because the state needs the money for deficit financing,'' Finance Minister Slavko Linic said. Over the next 30 days, the government will be accepting bids from prospective investment advisors, who will then present the government with a sales strategy and possible buyers, Linic explained. The government recently also privatized Hrvatska Postanska Banka, the country's sole remaining publicly-owned bank, in an effort to fulfill its campaign promise to reduce public debt from 4.1% of GDP in 2011 to 2.8%, through a mix of state property sell-offs, tax hikes, and savings incentives. (ANSAMed).

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