At an auction this week, only two bids for Elektrobosna-N were received: the winning one from Grotis d.o.o. of Jajce-Vinac and a bid for 1 mark less from Bosna Uni-Bau d.o.o. of Zenica. Muhamed Mačak, a major shareholder in Elektrobosna as well, owns both firms.
Hypo Alpe Adria Bank, which forced the auction after Elektrobosna-N failed to pay back a 3.7 million KM bank loan, must be repaid that amount plus interest within the next two weeks. After that Mačak will have won a victory over two other company shareholders seeking control of the company, Croatian businessman Zvonko Matijaš and Milorad Škrbić of Slovenia.
The metal alloy company was once a powerful Yugoslav industry, but in recent years it fell into debt and managers sporadically shut down production. Federal financial police have blamed the decline on a number of past and current company officials including Mačak’s rivals. Despite the trouble, it is still valued at 9 million KM.
‘I invested lots of money and huge effort, and I didn’t want to let anyone else buy the EB-N, especially Matijaš and his cronies’ Mačak said.
Škrbić said he would now turn his attention to other businesses. Matijaš could not be reached for comment.
Mačak won’t talk much about the source of the money behind his bids, except to say he secured it from German companies that will be repaid with future shipments of ferrosilicon and silicon metal.
Last month, officials tried to auction off the firm and Mačak submitted then withdrew the only bid He said then that he was afraid after FBiH Prime Minister Ahmed Hadžipašić warned him he would not get electricity.
Elektrobosna-N owes about 22 million KM to the state-owned Elektropriveda Herceg Bosna. After the bank is paid , just 4 KM will be left to go toward that bill.
Jajce municipal judge Jozo Karadža, who oversaw the auction, said the new owner has no obligation to pay bills the old owners accumulated.
A spokeswoman for the utility, Gordana Boras, said she would not comment on the debt or on whether it would supply the factory under its new owner with electricity.
Mačak also has no obligations towards company workers, but has made an effort to work with them.
Saša Tepić, fired recently after eight years at the firm, hopes to be back working soon for Mačak. He and about 150 former colleagues hoping to get back their jobs say they will stand guard in the company until it’s handed over to Mačak. They want to ensure that no equipment or supplies are stolen.
Copper parts and warehouse supplies have disappeared during the past few months, Tepić said.
Mačak said he is planning to start up production of ferrosilicon within a month.