Minister presents plan for restructuring motorway operators

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The sectors for toll collection and motorway maintenance from two Croatian motorway operators: the Hrvatske Ceste (HAC) company and the "Autocesta Rijeka-Zagreb" (ARZ) will be divested from them until the end of this year to be merged into one whole in early 2013, Transport and Infrastructure Minister Siniša Hajdaš Dončić told a news conference in Zagreb on Friday.

Presenting the plans for restructuring the two motorway operators, the minister said that the new company will manage 1,050 kilometres of motorways and will have 3,000 workers on its payroll at the beginning.

The number of employees in the new company will be scaled down to 2,912 by the end of 2013 and later to 2,823 in 2014, to fall to 2,711 in 2015.

Savings to be made through this overhauling are estimated at HRK 300 million.

The labour force in HAC, ARZ and in that future new company will be reduced by a total of 509 until 2015, through a gradual outflow, retirements and lay-offs with stimulating severance packages.

According to the minister Hajdaš Dončić, this will result in the reduction of the ratio of 2.86 workers per kilometre of motorway in 2012 to the average of 2.58 workers per kilometre in 2015, which is in accordance with the European average ratios.

These changes are also a part of preparations for the arrival of the private sector in the motorway maintenance and toll collection, as this can be expected also in Croatia, according to the minister's announcements, and one of possibilities is to offer the company's shares to employees.

Also, the new company could provide services of toll collection and maintenance for a possible foreign concession-holder. This scenario is probable as the concession-holder will certainly rely on the services of the company that has already been in that business, Hajdas-Doncic said.

The parent companies -- HAC and ARZ -- will retain 200 and 170 employees respectively, and they may be merged in a design company that will develop new projects in road and railway infrastructure and infrastructure for air and sea traffic.