news 20 Feb 13

Kosovo Places Ads to Lure Brezovica Investors

Kosovo seeks support from abroad to build new ski centre as part of privatisation effort.

Petrit Collaku
BIRN
Pristina

The Kosovo government paid thousands of euro for advertisements in two British publications, The Economist and Financial Times, to attract investors for the privatisation of the Brezovica ski resort.

The ads ran from January 31 until February 11, costing a total of 27,060 euro.
Bernard Nikaj, political advisor for the Minister of Trade, said 15 companies have responded to the ads with interest in Brezovica.

“These companies come from all over the world and we will see how many more will appear”, Nikaj said.

The ministry previously ran ads in the Economist and Financial Times to hire a legal and transaction advisor for Brezovica. But Nikaj said the ministry couldn’t afford to hire the companies that responded.

After more than a decade of rows over the sale of Kosovo’s main ski centre, the government came forward in 2012 with the new plan proposing a new ski resort.

To be built next door to the current centre, the proposed development would be five times larger than the Mavrovo ski resort in Macedonia though still only one third the size of Bansko, Bulgaria, the region’s largest centre.

The total cost of the new lifts would be 25 million euro but the master plan does not detail the financial implications of the whole resort, including new homes, restaurants and hotels.

The plan also envisages a mountain restaurant at more than 2,000 metres up and 30km of summer walking trails and a manmade lake, to encourage year-long visits.

While the proposal would sidestep the row over privatisation, hopes remain that the current site may be sold in future and the new and old centres linked.

“We are proposing the old ski centre and the new proposed location to the investors”, Nikaj said.

A bitter dispute between Belgrade and Pristina over ownership of the existing resort has thwarted a series of plans over the past decade to privatise Brezovica. In 2011, Kosovo’s Privatisation Agency put Brezovica’s assets for privatisation twice, only to withdraw them.

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