By Stevan V. Nikolic
Belgrade, Feb. 23, 2010 (Serbia Today) - An interesting article appeared on the B92 news website on Sunday. In the English language edition it was titled: “Mystery surrounds potential Galenika buyers” and in the Serbian edition the title was “Who is interested in Galenika?”.
Galenika is the biggest state-owned pharmaceutical company in Serbia. It was recently offered for sale to private investors by tender as part of the government program of privatization.
As one of the few Serbian companies with healthy structure and profitable returns, Galenika is certainly a prime target for any investor who wants a steady return on his investments.
The article in B92 reported that:
“Four companies have bought the documentation in the tender organized to sell Serbia's state-owned pharmaceutical giant Galenika.
B92 has unofficially learned that German STADA, Greek Alapis, American Abbott and European investment fund OMNIA have indicated their interest in the privatization.
The Privatization Agency would neither confirm nor deny this, saying only that the identity of the interested companies would remain a secret at the request of one of the companies.
B92 has learned that STADA has insisted that they would not participate in the tender if named as one of the companies that had bought the documentation.
The German company already has a presence in Serbia as the majority owner of Vršac-based Hemofarm. The agency said that the identities of the interested companies would not be disclosed until March 19 – the deadline for them to submit their letters of intent.”
\It is not entirely clear what was the purpose of publishing this information. One of the bidders wished to remain anonymous but B92 reveals its identity.
As journalists, we can always claim it is our right to freely inform the public. The need to disclose however, should be tempered with a sense of the public good. To publish the names of potential buyers in an ongoing business tender, where one of them wishes to stay anonymous and is likely to retract his offer cannot have any public benefit.
This article in B92 could only result in the withdrawal of the named company from the tender, and this can only benefit others interested in buying Galenika. I do not think that B92 published this article in order to help other bidders, but that is exactly how this article comes across.
I hope I am wrong…