BELGRADE – The privatisation of the Zelezara Smederevo is positive news, as is the fact that one of the world’s biggest companies in the sector is interested in the plant, says the chief World Bank economist in Serbia Lazar Sestovic.

After the presentation of a regular economic report on southeastern Europe, Sestovic told reporters that he hopes that the steel mill and its new partner will be able to restore production to the pre-crisis, 2008 level.

“I hope that production will be restored to the pre-crisis level although there are numerous factors that Serbia has no direct impact on, such as the global steel price and the policy of openness and closeness of major European and American markets,” Sestovic said.

It is good that China’s He Steel is interested in the steel mill because it definitely has its own distribution channels, which will have a good impact on Serbia, too, he said.

The Smederevo steel mill used to export around USD 1 billion worth of steel a year, which was equivalent to around three percent of GDP at the time, he added.