BELGRADE, Feb 19 (Reuters) - Serbia gave would-be investors two more weeks to submit letters of intent to buy state-run Galenika Pharmaceuticals, as the Balkan country tries to offload loss-making state firms and cut its budget shortfall.
The deadline was extended to Apr. 1 from Mar. 18, the finance ministry said in a statement.
'We want to allow potential investors more time to prepare their offers,' said a ministry official, declining to be named.
Galenika, a prescription drugmaker with a workforce of 2,700, is burdened by debts of 170 million euros ($222 million) and would need about 50 million euros in additional capital this year.
Under the Jan. 14 tender offer, international companies involved in the pharmaceutical industry for at least five years and with operating revenue of more than 200 million euros in 2011 have been invited to propose privatisation models.
Serbia's coalition government is trying to shed a number of big state-run enterprises, relics of old socialist Yugoslavia, as it eyes a budget deficit of 3.3 percent this year, down from some 6 percent in 2012.
It has pledged to return the economy to growth after a 1.9 percent contraction in gross domestic product (GDP) last year.
($1 = 0.7641 euro)
(Reporting by Aleksandar Vasovic; Editing by Helen Massy-Beresford) Keywords: SERBIA DRUGMAKER/
Copyright Thomson Reuters 2013. All rights reserved.
The copying, republication or redistribution of Reuters News Content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Thomson Reuters.