Serbia: EPS can be profitable says Aleksandar Obradovic CEO

, News Serbia Energy

Electricity will not increase by the end of the year, stated Aeksandar Obradovic, Acting Director General of EPS, which is confident that this company can become profitable.

First Deputy Prime Minister of Serbia, Aleksandar Vucic recently called on this public company that distributed 15 MEUR of bonus, although it operated at a loss. Acting Director General of Serbia Power Utility Company, Aleksandar Obradovic said he did not want to go into it that which company was called on, but that EPS did not share bonuses.

“Neither EPS shared 13th salaries nor the bonuses, it was a loan in accordance with our collective agreement”, explained Obradovic, stating that it was a loan free of interest, and also that employees in EPS already have returned more than half of the loan amount.

Obradovic also called on all citizens of Serbia who thought the job in EPS was a privilege to come to the Kolubara mine at minus 20 degrees and see how it works. Job in EPS has certain privileges, admits Obradovic, but he says that the job is difficult.

“We cannot share kilowatt hours for free, such as airline companies  share tickets”, said Obradovic, adding that the loans to employees was more than necessary, and that in the end had a good economic benefit.

Obradovic said that the electricity price would not increase by the end of the year, as well as the corrections of the electricity price were not expected until the end of the heating season. However, at the beginning of next year will be an analysis, said Acting Director of EPS, and reminded that from 1st January would continue the electricity market liberalization.

He recalled that at the end the year EPS would have a loss of 9 MEUR instead of 192 MEUR, which was the projected loss. According to him, EPS must be reorganized, must be corporatized, and must base their business on the profit.

Obradovic said that the Ministry of Energy helped EPS in the basis enactment for the company reorganization.

He explained the current EPS dysfunctionality   by fact that directors of subsidiary companies were not responsible to him as General Director, nor he could change them.

“For example, in the distribution companies, the director cannot change the branch executive director whose is responsible to the Board of Directors, and all decisions of the Board are going on the general director decision”, said Obradovic, adding that because of that the Serbian government in November decided that EPS must be corporatized.

Obradovic did not want to comment on the fact that he was still in the status of the Acting Director General of EPS, and the competition for the director election was not over yet, assessing that the government reshuffle probably contributed to the delay.

He said that EPS did not receive any subsidies, so he did not oppose to their abolition, but said that the consumed energy must be paid.

“Ministers of Economy and Finance, they were very clear that the social function comes from public companies”, Obradovic said, noting that EPS is already present in the competitive environment, as well as that of the first January, the company will no longer be a monopoly.

He said that the directors responsibility must be profitable, reminding them that the company where he previously worked – Czech Power Utility Company CEZ – made a real annual profit of a billion to a billion and a half EUR. On the question why he left the job in such a successful company to lead one loser such as EPS, Obradovic replied that it was his personal challenge.

“I see tremendous opportunity that EPS from loser become a company that will produce several hundred MEUR of profit. For me as a manager it is a big plus in the career “, explained Obradovic.

Source: Serbia Energy/EPS