SARAJEVO, May 26 (Reuters) - Bosnia’s autonomous Bosniak-Croat Federation will offer for sale its 45.5 percent stake in insurer Sarajevo Osiguranje on June 23, hoping to raise at least 27.4 million Bosnian marka ($15.6 million) to help cover its budget deficit.
The sale of the stake in Sarajevo Osiguranje, the country’s biggest insurance firm, is part of the government’s privatisation plan for 2016
The auction of 2.1 million shares will be carried out via the Sarajevo Stock Exchange with a starting price of 12.99 marka per share, the region’s privatisation agency said on Thursday.
The asking price was based on the company’s book value, which is higher than its present market value.
Shares of Sarajevo Osiguranje, which operates 14 branch offices across Bosnia, traded at 8.26 marka, up 1.03 percent from Wednesday’s close. It has a market capitalisation of 33.7 million marka.
Sarajevo Osiguranje has a 15 percent market share in the Federation and 10 percent market share nationwide. The remaining shares in the insurer are held by investment funds and the local branch of Austrian bank Raiffeisen Bank International.
In addition to the insurer, the government will later this year try to sell its stakes in drugmaker Bosnalijek, aluminium smelter Aluminij Mostar, engineering firm Energoinvest, and tobacco firm Fabrika Duhana Sarajevo .
After Bosnia’s 1992-95 war, the country was split into a Serb Republic and a Federation of Muslim Bosniaks and Catholic Croats, linked via weak central government.
($1 = 1.751 Bosnian marka)
Reporting by Maja Zuvela; Editing by Mark Potter