Sep 17 (Bloomberg)--
Cyprus-based Point Group, whose business focuses on the Balkans, will see 7 percent growth in its Serbian copper business this year, following a 15 percent expansion since the start of the global recession, its chairman said.
The group, which is active in agriculture, copper, baking, river transport and real estate in Romania, Bulgaria, Serbia, Austria,
Hungary, Germany and China, owns Valjaonica Bakra Sevojno, whose shares last traded on the Belgrade Stock Exchange in November 2009 at 1,452 dinars per share.
"We were lucky that even during the worst of the crisis we have increased our exports because we have a varied portfolio of products,” Chairman Zoran Drakulic said in an interview yesterday at a management conference in Bled, Slovenia. "Our European partners have lowered their inventories and we were able to respond to increased demand very quickly.”
Serbia is increasingly relying on exports rather than borrowing abroad and foreign investment for growth. Non-ferrous metal exports rose an annual 66.2 percent in the first seven months of this year to $387.1 million, while exports of metal products fell 4.6 percent to $174.1 million, according to official statistics.
The economy is emerging from 2009 recession when it contracted 3 percent. Gross domestic product is expected to grow 1.5 percent this year. The International Monetary Fund said yesterday that Serbia will not profit too much from the global recovery as its exports are still too small.
The copper rolling mill in Sevojno, some 230 kilometers (143 miles) southeast of Belgrade, produces flat products, copper and brass tubes and profiles, 90 percent of which are sold abroad.
"The export sector will have to get support from the government and this should be their main concern to increase exports and manufacturing output otherwise we may face serious problems,” Drakulic said.
Total export activity rose an annual 16.5 in the first seven months of 2010, largely aided by a decline in the dinar value against the euro and the dollar and somewhat higher foreign demand.