Tuesday, August 19, 2008


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (August 19,2008) - Bosnian car dealer and parts producer ASA Holding, Bosnia's largest private company, expects about a 20 percent rise in turnover this year due to strong demand, its general manager said today. Car sales have risen by 20 percent annually in recent years in Bosnia, and ASA Holding had a 41 percent market share in 2007, said Nihad Imamovic, who is also a co-owner of the company that employs more than 3,600 people.

Imamovic said he expects turnover of 425 million Euros ($625.8 million) this year.

"We shall increase turnover by 18-20 percent from the last year due to the growth in car sales in Bosnia, our stronger engagement in the sector and bigger orders from our partners," he said in an interview.

ASA Holding consists of ASA Group which deals in Volkswagen , Peugeot, Porsche and cars from other world carmakers and Prevent Group, which assembles car parts and manufactures leather seat covers.

Prevent, part of the Slovenia-based Prevent Group, is a strategic partner of Germany's Volkswagen in Bosnia, where they run a small operation assembling Volkswagen and Skoda models at a Sarajevo plant.

Prevent, the third-largest exporter in Bosnia, exports 85 percent of its production to the European Union market, mainly to Germany, France and Slovenia. Its exports of 143 million Euros in 2007 should rise 20 percent this year as well, Imamovic said.

Business officials from the sector also expect higher output after Volkswagen moves a car metal components assembly line from its Martin plant in northern Slovakia to Bosnia, as announced earlier this month.

Imamovic, who is also president of Bosnia's Employers Association, said the move would result in 600 new jobs.He said a new line would be important for the Bosnian economy, which suffers from about 40 percent unemployment.

"Each new job opening is a big thing in this country, let alone 600 jobs," he said.

Imamovic said the move followed the June signing of the Stabilisation and Association Agreement between Bosnia and the European Union.

"The working force is far cheaper here than in the European Union," he said, explaining that Volkswagen had considered opening an assembly line in Bosnia in the 1990s but had to cancel the plans due to the 1992-95 Serbian,Montenegrin and Croatian aggressions against Bosnia.

Before the war, Volkswagen fully assembled about 400,000 cars in Bosnia.

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