Serbian lube marketer Fam recently opened a corrosion inhibitor and degreaser production unit. The government is now seeking a foreign investor for the company following years of scandal and financial struggles under its previous owners.
The government is trying to restructure the state-owned firm, which means new management and lay-offs, while satisfying the demands of its trade union. As of now, the survival of the debt-ridden company is in the hands of a potential foreign investor.
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Fams highly qualified technical and human resources have always been a sought-after currency in the Serbian industrial landscape, Zorica Davidovic, head of Belgrade-based consultancy Bargos Loa, told Lube Report last week. In the last few years the company held long buyout talks with Gazprom, but the Russians [dropped] the idea because of the accumulated debt.
In 2016, a Serbian court sentenced former Fam owner Milo Djuraskovic to seven years of prison on counts of tax evasion and embezzlement. Since 2007, when Djuraskovics affiliated companies and partners took control of Fam, they siphoned off over 32 million (U.S. $37.2 million) of company assets for personal gain, authorities allege.
Courts ordered the company to settle its accrued 22 million debt owed to various lenders by 2026, while Fam hopes to be released of the 12 million debt it owes to the government entities.
In 2017, Fam produced 10,000 metric tons of finished lubricants and greases.
The new corrosion inhibitor and degreasers unit has 2,500 t/y production capacity. Despite the debt problems, we have proven that Fam is operating, the sales are good and the employees get regular salaries, said Jelica Djurovic Petronijevic, Fams general director.
Fam exports about 4,000 tons of its production to neighboring countries and the European Union. The company said it recently started to ship products to Russia and Africa. The remaining 6,000 tons goes to customers within Serbia.
Fam supplies industrial and automotive lubricants to leading Serbian energy and metallurgy companies, truck and railway transportation companies, and the auto fleets of the countrys army and police forces.